A chat with Timo Janse, head bartender at Flying Dutchmen Cocktails in Amsterdam

Timo Janse is the head bartender at Flying Dutchmen Cocktails in Amsterdam, which is currently ranked the world's 93rd best cocktail bar in the world.

It was a great honour for us to catch up with Timo to learn how he got started making cocktails, what the cocktail scene in Amsterdam is like, what flavours he likes to work with and so much more.

Hey Timo, can you briefly explain how you got into making cocktails?

During my Master Degree in financial accounting at the University of Amsterdam, I was daunted to learn what my future job as an accountant would entail. No creativity and money being the only driver for most professionals I talked to. I was fortunate enough to work at several party bars during college, and luckily, one of them put me in contact with cocktails.

Here I found I had a natural talent for creating drinks, plus long hours and hard physical work was something I thrived in. There I decided to follow my talent, passion and a place where I could be creative.

What cocktail have you created that you are most proud of?

Last year I created the “Wham-Pan Berry Green Pandan”. What I enjoyed most was that people kept coming back for it, long after we had it as a special at both bars.

What was in the “Wham-Pan Berry Green Pandan” and how did you create it?

The “Wham-Pan Berry Green Pandan” was created to be the ultimate summer refresher. I wanted to create a drink too rival all the spritzes and G&T’s out there.

It has lime, Ketel Een Jenever, Banding 22 Pandan Liqueur, Cucumber and Royal Bliss Berry Sensation.

What is the cocktail scene like in The Netherlands right now?

In The Netherlands, cocktail is a real craze, where cocktails are being made in every small city.

Also restaurants - it's clear consumers are 100% sold on them, and they are crucial now for the survival of every new restaurant, bar, hotel etc.

What are your go-to cocktails to make when you have a bunch of friends over to watch some sports?

Vieux Carré. You do not want to have to run to the kitchen every 5 minutes!

What advice would you share with people just getting into making cocktails at home?

It is easier to learn a skill if you start off in a correct way. So invest in a good quality cocktail book, and adhere to its tips on doing things, instead of just picking things off the internet. No tool is irreplaceable, and even a collection of three well researched bottles can already give you enough ammo to make lots of drinks.

Outside of the Flying Dutchmen, what are some of your favorite bars to visit

I love going to classic Genever bars such as Wynand Fockink. When it comes to cocktail bars, I love going to classic cocktail places with lots of history, such as Boadas in Barcelona.

What are some of your favorite ingredients or tools to work with right now?

Genever has for years been a big source of inspiration to me. There are so many awesome new products coming out in that category, plus it is a category with lots of history as well. Finally it already has many classic cocktails made with it, so you never need to look far for inspiration.

What advice would you give to folks who want to venture into mixology as a profession?

You will spend the first three years just soaking up knowledge, so apply yourself to as many events and tastings as possible. It is way better to accept a lower entry point at a high quality place than a higher price point with no training or inspiration.

Where do you see the cocktail industry going in the next 5-10 years?

With the current explosion of drinks, I think at some point there must come some reflection, or downside. But perhaps not. Perhaps, like the food-scene, there will be a niche possible for every different type of (cocktail)bar in every city.

In theory, cocktails are all-encompassing so it could come as no surprise of it will once again be all-encompassing in the future of drinks as well.

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