De Kuyper is one of the most recognizable range of liqueurs in the world, and since 1695 the brand has been divulging into a wide range of flavours that look to innovate and impress not only bartenders, but the consumers too.
So how did De Kuyper come about, and essentially be a part of many of the bars across the world?
As mentioned above, De Kuyper was founded back in 1695 by Petrus De Kuyper, initially as a manufacturer of barrels and casks used in the transportation of spirits and beer. By 1752, the family bought a distillery in Schiedam, Rotterdam as there was a lot of grain trading and by the 19th century, the company expanded its export business throughout Europe, Great Britain and Canada. In 1911, a new distillery was built in Schiedam, Holland which was then the leading center for the production of Dutch gin or genever, and thereafter the production of liqueur began. The roster of flavors slowly expanded, and partnerships were formed with distillers in Canada (1932) and the United States (1934, strategically at the end of Prohibition). By the 1960’s the production of liqueurs had overtaken the production of genever, and coupled with the promotion of liqueurs for use in cocktails, the sales of the brand grew.
In 1995, on the occasion of its 300th anniversary, the company received the title “Royal” from Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. This led to the company changing its name from Johannes de Kuyper & Zoon to De Kuyper Royal Distillers. In the same year, Erven Warnink – the leading producer of advocaat and cream liqueurs – was taken over by De Kuyper Royal Distillers.
The liqueurs themselves are split into a variety of sub-categories, including –
The Essentials; Apricot Brandy, Blue Curacao, Creme de Cassis, Creme de Menthe Green and Triple Sec
The Traditionals; Including Butterscotch, Creme de Cacao White and Vanilla
The Fruits; Including Dry Orange, Cherry, Mango, Melon and Passionfruit
The Distiller’s Signature; Including Cucumber, Lemongrass and Spicy Chilli
The current Master Distiller, Myriam Hendrickx, has been creating new and innovative flavours, such as the Cucumber expression, to positive reviews, especially with its versatility of serves. So below, I give to you my tasting notes on the De Kuyper range that I have had the privilege of experiencing so far, including some of their premium expressions and bitters that are away from the core range –
De Kuyper Cucumber – 15%
Using baby cucumbers, they are mashed into a pulp, then left to soak in neutral alcohol before being distilled. Then the brew is seasoned with rice vinegar and salt.
Rich, fragrant cucumber on the nose with a fresh offering that follows onto the palate. Thinner texture with a rich, fragrant kick that also offers a slight sharpness upon the finish.
De Kuyper Cherry Brandy XO – 28%
Made with Maraska cherries and almonds, before being blended with Grande Champagne XO Cognac.
Bold, rich notes of stemmed cherry upon the nose, albeit a little dry. Very rich on the palate, with a warmth from the stewed cherry flavours. A thick texture, long, with a mouth-watering finish.
De Kuyper Apricot Brandy XO – 28%
Made from apricots from France and Turkey and blended with Grande Champagne XO Cognac.
Rich honey on the nose, with bold kicks of the apricot and a dry finish. A natural sweetness lines the palate, with a thin yet long flavour of stemmed apricot.
The company also produce a range of bitters too;
De Kuyper Juniper – 64%
Very rich and tart on the nose, with bold kicks of juniper coming through. Rich, sweet and floral notes of the juniper upon the palate.
De Kuyper Orange – 64%
Soft, sweet candied orange on the nose, turning to a sharp hit on the palate. Bitter with a hint of natural sweetness following, then to a rich orange that offers a long, dry finish.
As mentioned, De Kuyper pride themselves in creating versatile expressions, so try your hand at some of these cocktail recipes –
15 ml De Kuyper Passion Fruit
60 ml Vanilla infused Vodka
15 ml Fresh lime juice
15 ml Sugar syrup
60 ml Champagne
1½ fresh passion fruit
Scoop the seeds and flesh of passion fruit into base of shaker. Add next four ingredients (all but Champagne), Shake with ice and fine strain into chilled glass. Separately, pour champagne into chilled shot(s) glass to serve on the side. Garnish by floating half passion fruit.
Blood & Sand
25 ml De Kuyper Cherry Brandy
45 ml Whisky
25 ml Sweet Vermouth
25 ml Fresh orange juice
Shake all ingredients in the shaker & fine strain in a chilled glass. Garnish with orange zest and cherry on a stick.
Versatile indeed. But it’s not just De Kuyper liqueurs and bitters that De Kuyper Royal Distillers create, but in fact the likes of Mandarine Napoleon, Warninks Advocaat, Kwai Feh and No.3 gin are all produced under the Dutch flag. Worthy of having one or two of the flavours in your drinks cabinet to create some impressive cocktails for your friends and family, or indeed look out for them in your local bar.
© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.