Category: News

Rutte Celery gin among the 2016 Spirited Awards Finalists – Imbibe Magazine

Here are the top four candidates in each category
of this year’s Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards.

The annual Tales of the Cocktail is around the corner, and one of the highlights of the event is the Spirited Awards. Now in their 10th year, the awards honor the best and brightest individuals across a variety of industry categories. Read more about this year’s awards ceremony here, and check out the final four nominees in each category.

Source: 2016 Spirited Awards Finalists – Imbibe Magazine

Three Exceptional Holiday Cocktails from Torrence O’Haire

How the Chicago Bartender Finds Inspiration in Hospitality, Food, and Music

If you’re familiar with the Chicago bar scene, you might have run into Torrence O’Haire in a number of places.

You might have attended a cocktail competition he has hosted on behalf of his company, Royal Dutch Distillers (Rutte Gin, Mandarine Napoléon, among other brands).

If you went to culinary school in the city, he might have been at the head of your Spirits and Mixology Class at Kendall College School of Hospitality. Or you might have seen him on any given night at Elixir Lounge in Andersonville, serving up a vast menu of unique craft cocktails.

If you’re lucky, however, you were invited to O’Haire’s home, attending one of his many dinner events for industry professionals.

“I do most of my entertaining at home… to get to know local professionals on a much warmer and more personal scale than ‘yet another dreadful networking event’.”

O’Haire has held nearly every role in the service industry over this course of his 15-year career,  from busboy to chef, sommelier to cocktail competitor, teacher to brand ambassador. No matter where he is stationed, his mission has always been to develop warm, personal relationships with his guests.

It is his sense of hospitality that has brought him success so far, and it’s also at the core of his three exceptional holiday cocktails.

Serving Hospitality for the Holidays


Hospitality is more than just good service. It’s about creating a experience, and it’s a critical component of being a great holiday host.

“Make someone feel incredible,” says O’Haire. “Make them feel wonderfully well-cared for, repair their wounds, make them laugh, warm them, nourish them, and send them blissfully home.”

O’Haire tries to weave this holiday hospitality into the DNA of his cocktails, starting with the  selection of the base spirit.

Take his original “Clara’s Waltz”, a cocktail inspired by The Nutcracker that features genever instead of its more popular cousin, gin. The reason for choosing genever over gin was as much about the experience as it was about the flavor profile.

“Think of genever as a gin that tastes and feels like a chilly autumn day,” he said, “It’s also flavored very lightly with hazelnuts and walnuts, so there’s an additional richness to its palate.”

The “Clara’s Waltz” cocktail embodies a familiar and important memory from our childhood: the moment when we were first treated like an adult. For Clara in the The Nutcracker, it was the night she attends her first “grown-up Christmas party”. Whatever that moment was for you, O’Haire’s cocktail captures the emotion perfectly.

“This is a blend between a semi-dry classic ‘adult cocktail’, with a little whipped-cream-holiday-sweetness to delight your inner child.”

How to turn a song into a cocktail

When your focus is on creating experiences and not just cocktails, you realize that inspiration can be found everywhere during the holidays… even in a song.

O’Haire’s second holiday cocktail, Sugar Rum Cherry, is the perfect example. It is inspired by Duke Ellington’s jazz rendition of “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies”. The song feels boozy and familiar, yet unpredictable and exciting, much like the drink itself.

It would be easy to say that O’Haire’s years of experience and formal training are the reason why his cocktails hit the perfect holiday note. I would say it is more than that.

O’Haire starts with the question: “How do I make this person feel happy?” and builds his drinks around the answer.

Sometimes the answer is a childhood memory, sometimes a song, sometimes an over-sized holiday meal. In the end, he doesn’t measure his success by the awards he wins, but the friendships he makes along the way.

That should be your goal this holiday season as well. Here are three cocktails from O’Haire that are sure to help you succeed.

Clara’s Waltz

Torrence O’Haire


  • 2oz Old Simon Genever
  • .5oz Lustau Cream Sherry
  • .25oz Tempus Fugit Creme de Cacao
  • .25oz St. Elizabeth Allspice dram
  • 1 drop vanilla extract
  • 1.5oz very softly whipped cream (pourable)


Combine spirits in a mixing glass with ice. Stir well and strain into a chilled coupe. Carefully pour a thick layer of soft cream onto the surface of the drink. Top with fresh nutmeg and serve with christmas cookies.

Garnish: Freshly grated nutmeg, and a spice cookie on the side

Glassware: Coupe

Story Behind the Cocktail

This is a careful blend of classic cocktail construction with celebratory holiday flair, and most importantly, a seasonal-yet-unusual blend of flavors, shying away from expected and playing up the nuttiness of Old Simon with earthy, sweet vanilla-chocolate-spice, while still keeping the cocktail from getting overly sweet.
Inspired by the young Clara’s waltz in the Nutcracker (my childhood christmas favorite), where the young girl experiences her first “grown up christmas party”. This is a blend between a semi-dry classic “adult cocktail”, with a little whipped-cream-holiday-sweetness to delight your inner child.

Sugar Rum Cherry

Torrence O’Haire


  • 1.5oz Ron Mateuselem 12yo Rum
  • 1oz Mandarine Napoleon
  • 1oz fresh orange juice
  • .75oz Carpano Antica
  • .25oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1 heaping spoonful black cherry jam
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 2 dashes Cherry bitters


Combine all ingredients in a shaker tin, fill with ice, and shake hard until chilled and frothy. Fine-strain into a tumbler filled with crushed ice. Cut a broad curl of orange peel and stud with whole cloves. Garnish with cloved peel and a few brandied cherries.


1 orange peel strip, studded with 1 clove, and a brandied cherry



Story Behind the Cocktail

Utter christmas party fun; balanced, not overly sweet, seasonal in flavor without being predictable. Rich, caramelly rum, perfumy orange-scented cognac, spicy vermouth and deep cherry notes make this a fabulous celebration-drink.
Organic inspiration from my favorite spin on our family’s Christmas classic: The Nutcracker. Duke Ellington’s jazz version of “The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies”, titled “Sugar Rum Cherry” is a perfect holiday piece for a fabulous holiday bash, and the title and feel inspired my punch.

White Witch

Torrence O’Haire


  • 2oz Rutte Dry Gin
  • .75oz Dolin Dry Vermouth
  • .25oz Rothman & Winter Apricot Liqueur
  • .25oz Lazzaroni Amaretto
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • 1 dash Regan’s Orange bitters


In a mixing glass, lightly muddle rosemary with liqueurs. Add ice and remaining spirits and stir well until chilled and diluted. Strain into chilled coupe, and garnish with a rosemary skewer, warmed until smoking with a match.


One cranberry, skewered on a lightly charred rosemary twig 



Story Behind the Cocktail

Clean, mostly dry, light notes of spice, winter fruits, and resin and the deep spicy aromatics of Rutte’s dry gin (a product with which I’m presently obsessed). A culinary-inspired holiday cocktail for people that tend to eschew holiday cocktails.



This was strictly culinary inspiration, as I make a winter chutney of dried apricots, toasted almonds, and rosemary for roasted meats. Thinking of something that would present those same wintry flavors, but stay clean, dry, and lightweight inspired this classically-constructed martini variation.

Thanksgiving closure

Royal Dutch Distillers will be closed Thursday 24th and Friday 25th in observance of Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated in Canada and the United States. It was originally celebrated as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. Several other places around the world observe similar celebrations. Although Thanksgiving has historical roots in religious and cultural traditions, it has long been celebrated in a secular manner as well.

Thanksgiving in The Netherlands

Many of the PilgrPieterskerkims who migrated to the Plymouth Plantation had resided in the city of Leiden from 1609–1620, and had recorded their births, marriages and deaths at the Pieterskerk (St. Peter’s church).

To commemorate this, a non-denominational Thanksgiving Day service is held each year on the morning of the American Thanksgiving Day in the Pieterskerk, a Gothic church in Leiden, noting the hospitality the Pilgrims received in Leiden on their way to the New World. Besides this, Thanksgiving is observed by orthodox protestant churches in The Netherlands on the first Wednesday in November (Dankdag).


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Royal Dutch Distillers, Inc & De Kuyper Royal Distillers announce appointment of Mark J. de Witte as new CEO of De Kuyper Holding NV

MIAMI, FL (June 25, 2015) — Royal Dutch Distillers, Inc. announced today the appointment of Mark J. De Witte as CEO of the globally recognized, family-owned business, De Kuyper Holding NV, effective September 1st 2015. He will join the board of directors per July 1st 2015. De Witte’s years of experience in the business of spirits distribution and management will surely prove to be an invaluable resource in maintaining De Kuyper’s long-standing tradition as an innovative international company that provides a wide range of premium-quality craft spirits.

Before joining the De Kuyper family, Mark De Witte held a number of leadership positions under the renown spirits company, Bacardi Limited.  De Witte worked with Bacardi since 2000, first as Managing Director of Bacardi Netherlands, moving his way up to CEO of Bacardi Germany and Managing Director of Bacardi Business Unit DACH & Nordics. In the years between, he stood as CEO of Bacardi UK & Ireland and CEO of the Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands.  With more than 25-years of experience in global spirits distribution, De Witte will play a key role in optimizing the company’s global brand management and portfolio expansion.

“The opportunity for my family to bring Mark De Witte into our family business will certainly landmark a new era for the company and its global success”, says Marc De Kuyper, president of the company’s Miami-based premium spirit division, Royal Dutch Distillers, and 11th generation De Kuyper.  “Our current CEO, Ben van Doesburgh, successfully built a strong foundation for both our company and the 11th generation. I look forward to work closely with Mark de Witte to further build on Ben’s legacy to ultimately steer our company into its next 320 years of existence.” Marc De Kuyper adds, “Having Mark De Witte on board will allow me to continue to focus on expanding our sales and marketing infrastructure for our craft spirits in the United States. His expertise and vision will certainly have a big impact on our success in the American markets”

Mark De Witte’s knowledge will reinvigorate the De Kuyper brand as well as the company’s independent brands, so that it may focus on providing the world with its family’s authentic and truly artisanal craft spirits that have distinguished them from other brands for generations.

About De Kuyper Royal Distillers

Founded in 1695, the 100% family-owned De Kuyper Royal Distillers is an innovative international company, which develops a wide-range of premium quality craft spirits.  It is one of the oldest family business in the Europe. The DEKUYPER brand is the world’s largest brand of cocktail liqueurs. De Kuyper exports to more than 100 countries.

About Royal Dutch Distillers

Royal Dutch Distillers is a the Miami-based branch of the De Kuyper Royal Distillers brand.  Marc De Kuyper, an 11th generation De Kuyper, currently stands as the company’s president.  It is an importing company that distributes and markets the De Kuyper ultra-premium liqueurs and specialty, award-winning products, including Mandarine Napoléon, ChocoWine, and its most recent launch, Rutte & Son.

Pioneering Spirit | Marc de Kuyper | Modern Luxury

In the U.S. when you’re part of a storied business family, no one blinks an eye when you sign up to star in a reality show or turn into the kind of tragic partygoer whom tabloids love to hate. It’s the newfangled version of the American dream.

But if you’re European and a whole deal more ambitious, you may instead take the route 33-year-old Marc De Kuyper did when he decided he wanted a high-ranking position in his family’s 11-generation-old distillery business in the Netherlands.

That was all fine and good with his clan, but De Kuyper Royal Distillers, a company founded in 1695 that sells 70 million bottles annually in more than 135 countries, is not a place where nepotism is a given.

Source: Pioneering Spirit

De Kuyper Family’s Royal Dutch Distillers Unit Markets High-End Spirits In U.S. – Shanken News Daily

Best known in the United States for its namesake liqueur brand marketed by Beam Inc., the Netherlands-based De Kuyper family is busy developing a high-end portfolio—including Mandarine Napoléon orange liqueur and Rutte genever—through its own U.S. subsidiary, Royal Dutch Distillers. … Continue reading →

Source: De Kuyper Family’s Royal Dutch Distillers Unit Markets High-End Spirits In U.S. – Shanken News Daily

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