Would you be surprised to learn that the liqueurs you love might be over 400 years old? I mean the recipe. Bols Distillery in Amsterdam has been producing liqueurs since the 16th C, so how perfect to have the Bols Brand Experience Manager teach us how to drink liqueurs!
My friend Jamie Campbell was a guest on Lush Life previously, but that was before he donned the title of Bols Brand Experience Manager. Now we talk all day about how much we love liqueur-based cocktails. Those lovely dessert cocktails, the Martinez, and the herbal hot toddies are all made with liqueurs. It’s a vast category and perfect to examine in this, my How to Drink, season.
This episode originally aired on March 16, 2021.
You can listen to this episode here, or any of your favorite podcatchers.
Please enjoy this transcript of my interview with Jamie. Just remember that I own the copyright in and to all content in and transcripts of Lush Life podcast, with all rights reserved, as well as my right of publicity. So if you want to use any of this, please email me!
Susan: It’s so nice to see you again and thank you for coming on the show again.
Jamie: Thank you, Susan. It’s great to be back. I’m super happy. And I always loved doing the show whenever I can.
Susan: Last time you were on, you were in a completely different role. So this is like a totally new Jamie. And so why don’t you give a little intro to who you are and what you’re doing now?
Jamie: Okay. So my name is Jamie Campbell and I am the Bols brand experience manager, which is just a fancy title, basically for kind of like a mixed bag of everything. So effectively I look after Bols Genever, Bols Liqueurs and Galliano for the UK market. And basically what I do is I Act as a brand ambassador first and foremost, to sort of train bartenders, consumers, anyone who wants to know about Bols and the associated brands.
But I also support that with kind of the day-to-day management of the brand as well. It’s something that I want us to start to work towards is actually having a bit of control over the brand and what it does in the UK market. So kind of. One of my basic roles is to kind of like create the brand plan in terms of what the brand wants to do each year, taking direction from the global team.
And then sort of implementing that in the UK market. And then being able to support that with, with a brand ambassador function and training people around the country to, to understand what Bols is, how it’s made and where it comes from, because it’s got a lot of history. There’s a lot to talk about.
Susan: Yes. We’re definitely going to talk about some of that, but before we get into talking specifically about liqueurs, tell us a little bit about Bols and , how Bols and liqueurs kind of come together.
Jamie: Okay, well, for anyone who doesn’t know Bols is actually it’s the world’s oldest distilled spirits company. And it was established in the outskirts of Amsterdam in 1575. So we’re now talking kind of over 445 years ago, which is not bad going for a brand and, you know, with everything going on in the world today to say that we’re still going as is pretty strong.
And we’ve drawn upon those 445 years of experience to try and help us get through now, you know, and, and all the craziness that we’re dealing with. But the Bols family themselves, they, they moved from Antwerp during the 80 years’ war. And then landed in Amsterdam. And when they got there, they set up a really tiny, actually really, really tiny distillery called t Lootsje.
Which is why they then began to produce an assortment of liqueurs and spirits. And that’s really where it kind of. Our story, if you like start is once they hit Amsterdam at 1575, which is why we always have 1575 on our bottles, kind of like our, our establishment date.
We owe most of it to Lucas BOLs who was the grandson of the founder. He was born in 1652. And, you know, we owe so much to him. We actually, we take his name and we put it on the bottles of every single bottle of Bols Genever and liqueurs has his signature on the back because we owe so much to him.
And the reason for that was. Know, born in 1652. But he eventually took over the Bols business from his grandfather and in doing so really put it on the map. He was also a major shareholder in the Dutch East India trading company, the VOC and through that position, he really helps put Bols on the map by.
Being able to import and export all of the products that were coming in and out of out of Amsterdam, you know, one of the largest trading ports in the world at the time and effectively, what it meant is that Bols had first pick of all of the herbs, spices, fruits. Really anything you could sort of think of that were coming from all four corners of the world.
And through this access to these various ingredients, Lucas Bols decided to start playing around and sort of being a bit of a mad scientist with that. And I’m really trying to work out what could be created. And so what we could do with all of this, you know, this abundance of flavor that that was at our fingertips and over time he eventually sort of collated and amassed a collection of over 300 liqueurs recipes, which is just astounding for, you know, for that time first and foremost, but just to be able to have it that much knowledge and really to be able to create something that’s so vast. And in doing so, you know, he also began to hone in on Genever as a product as well, and really start to draw upon that traditional Dutch spirit.
But the liqueurs was really were first and foremost his passion and his baby, if you like. And we saw those start to ship out across the world as well on these trading ships in the Dutch East India trading company, you know, these, liqueurs managed to make their way into all four corners of the world themselves.
And we see that in the likes of Sri Lanka, where Genever is still one of the major imports and exports, you know, that it’s still consumed there to this day. And liqueurs, you know, far and wide, we see them all over the place, particularly though the brands that we have in our portfolio.
So it’s fantastic to be able to trace that lineage all the way back to Lucas Bols and, and what he started all those many years ago.
Susan: It’s incredible that he was able to reach so far and wide at that time. Do you have any of the original recipes?
Jamie: At the, the House of Bols, which is kind of our, our museum, if you like in Amsterdam we have some of the original books and the actual original, his original recipe book is encased in Bulletproof glass almost to preserve the history of the brand. And alongside that we have, the original liqueurs bottles from all the way back in the 1500’s and all the way through to present day.
And you can see the transformation from the old clay style bottles that were used for the Genever’s and the liqueurs to the more modern day bowling pins sort of shape that we see in the Bols liqueurs and the clay style bottles of the Genever that we have today.
And so, yeah, we’ve got this so much information available that we’ve been very fortunate enough to, to be able to hold on to and ingredient helps us all draw a line from, from where we started to where we are today.
And for anyone who might not know what is a liqueur? I know it’s a simple question, but what is technically, what is a liqueur
Jamie: It’s a simple question with a very difficult and sort of convoluted answer. The easiest way to explain it is: liqueurs are, I guess, typically made from a distilled spirit that can be anything from rum, whiskey, brandy or even a neutral alcohol. And you can include vodkas or gins in there as well.
So, you know, you can kind of have a liqueur made from any base alcohol. But these alcohols are then generally flavored with various herbs, spices, fruits, oils, and then usually sweetened as well. They’re typically lower in alcohol, in ABV, than those hard spirits that they come from, but the ABV really fluctuates based on the type of liqueur that you’re making as well as some require a higher ABV or higher alcohol content to allow the flavor profiles and the aromas and everything else to pull through.
And other ones don’t need quite so much. So even within the category, there are so many sort of subcategories and various flavors that it’s, there’s no real simple answer to what liqueur is, but generally it’s a distilled spirit that’s had some sort of flavoring and sweetener added to it is the, I guess, the easiest way to break it down.
Susan: Well, so going back, I’m so interested in Lucas Bols and that time, and having so many in his repertoire really of, of flavors. Sugar was super expensive then, and you know, fruit was expensive. Were these liqueurs only for the rich, I mean, how are people using them then?
Jamie: Yeah, exactly that. So, I mean, the reason that we were able to get our hands on these ingredients is because of Lucas Bols’ position within the VOC, the trading company, he effectively allowed Bols to have these flavor profiles and various flavors simply by his position and his access to them through that. I would’ve absolutely agreed that, that the liqueurs were generally for the upper classes, you know, they were made particularly for special occasions. For a lot of the times we see some of our original recipes that were made for engagements. So when a man was to marry a wife he would receive a liqueur as an engagement present if you’d like.
And we still have some of those recipes, the dates in the museum in Amsterdam. So they would have generally been used either as gifts or for special occasions. It was very rare that the sort of the working or the lower classes would have had access to these liqueurs, purely because of the cost of the ingredients at the time. It just wouldn’t have been available.
Susan: And what are some of the flavors that exists still today that existed then?
Jamie: Triple sec, very much so is one of our kind of like original flavors. And you know, we use orange Curacao, so we use Curacao oranges to this day we’ve always used those. And we try and stick to that as much as possible to, to maintain that heritage that was started 400 years ago.
So yeah, Triple Sec is certainly up there. And is one of our best setting flavors as well, you know, it’s, it’s phenomenal liquid and it really does stand the test of time, as that’s obviously quite apparent definitely one of those.
Susan: Do you remember if there’s one that doesn’t exist today, you know, that you never even heard of that fruit before?
Jamie: Yes, there’s one, there’s one. That was one that was created and then. It doesn’t really translate well into English. And my Dutch is terrible. It’s something I’m trying to work on, but it was an, a liqueur that was made basically for when the wives of sailors would see their husbands off to sea. And it kind of translates to kind of like wives, tears, or old wives tears, and it was effectively a liqueur that was created to help these women deal with the loss or the leaving of their husband when they would go off on these trading ships and disappear for months, if not years at a time, traveling the world.
It’s not something that we make anymore. The recipe exists. It’s always, I’d love to see it back into production, but I’m not sure how it tastes. And so I don’t know if it would work, but it’s got a really cool story too. And, you know, based out of a port like Amsterdam, it’s fantastic see how that really ties into sort of the history of the area and everything that went on there.
Susan: Are you allowed to tell us what ingredient it had?
Jamie: I don’t even know everything is written in Dutch. So even trying to
Susan: Oh, you don’t know?
Jamie: Yeah. Yeah. So it had some flowers which, you know, kind of were , local to the area. So it was mainly, it was quite a herbal liqueur, shall we say, so it was something that I probably imagine something similar to like Benedictine or along those lines.
So is there a, definitely a herbal liqueur, but there were some sort of floral aromas and floral flavors in there as well, to kind of sweeten it a little bit.
Susan: The romantic in me, wants there to be, Forget-Me-Nots You know, one of
Jamie: That would be incredible. We can say that there are, let’s say that there are, and we’ll just go with that.
Susan: Or if they ever created a new one, we’ll go, Oh yeah. We’ll add some Forget-Me-Nots now again, back then, we all, we will come to the future soon or the, the modern day soon back then.
So they were getting them as presents, the liqueurs. How were they drinking them? Was it, is it the same way? And we’ll talk, I guess we’ll talk about the way we drink it today, but how, how would then, did they drink it?
Jamie: So generally then, not necessarily just with the Bols range, but liqueurs in general for the most part were kind of the herbal variety. And would generally have been consumed to help alleviate ailments such as like sore throats or upset stomachs or basically any problem you could think of. There would have been a liqueur that someone said it could cure the symptoms of and things like again, Benedictine or Chartreuse, which were created by monks at the time. They would generally have been created as a, as a herbal remedy to all sorts of ailments and pains and aches and everything else. Bols, however, we popularized flavors such as cherry and apricot brandy and creme de menthe, which were at points used for their medicinal purposes, but also as after dinner drinks and to be consumed for the fun of it, as opposed to for the medicinal property so,
Susan: And I guess they were drunk neat. Right? Or is there any history of them being combined with water?
Jamie: Yeah. So generally I think from, from what we’ve seen, certainly neat was the preferred and the go-to you know, things like creme de menthe, for example, were certainly served neat and definitely chilled whether that was with ice or, it was chilled beforehand, but definitely neat was the preferred it isn’t until sort of the 1800’s and particularly the late 1800’s where bartending really took off in America and you had the likes of Professor Byron and Jerry Thomas and all of these original celebrity bartenders, if you like that started to, write books and create these, these cocktail books and these recipe books whereby we started to see the combination of spirits and liqueurs in cocktails.
But in terms of earlier on sort of the 15, 16, 17 hundreds, we don’t see as much of that as certainly towards the latter half of the 1800’s and sort of the 19th century where we see more of that.
Susan: Yeah, the first wellness cocktails, I guess let’s throw in some liqueur to make it
Susan: Good for you, right.
Jamie: Yeah. So we, you know, we have an excuse to drink, which everyone wants nowadays. Exactly. That.
Susan: Did they ever try and combine it with the Genever?
Jamie: They did, we certainly did. And it’s actually, it’s one of my it’s, it’s my favorite cocktail. And it’s the Martinez. So, you know, kind of the story goes and it’s generally recognized, but the Martinez is just kind of the little brother of the Manhattan and the precursor to the Martini. It sort of sits in between the creation of those two cocktails and very classic, well-known cocktails, especially today. And the Martinez is sort of one that we see a bit more nowadays, but it’s definitely one that’s dipped in and out of, of certainly popularity, but especially knowledge, you know, in terms of people, knowing what a Martinez is, but exactly that it was a combination of a really multi-style of Dutch Genever generally would be called Oude Genevers or “jenevers”, if you pronounce it in the Dutch way.
And then the story goes that it was either dry orange curacao. So like a, an orange
liqueur made from Curacao oranges or maraschino liqueur. I personally like mine with a little bit of both and then Italian vermouth as well. So yeah, there’s certainly combinations of Genever and liqueurs over the, over the ages.
Susan: Yeah, absolutely. I guess I forgot about the Martinez and I do remember you liking a Martinez. That was one of your favorite cocktails. Even back when we met a billion years ago. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Now let’s fast forward to modern day. How do you see people drinking liqueurs now? Are they drinking them neat or is it always in cocktails? Do you see everything?
Jamie: Absolutely. Yeah, quite honestly, we see a little bit of everything. I think it certainly varies kind of country to country as well. , the drinking habits vary as much as the number and flavors of liqueurs that exist. You know, for example, in, in France and other French speaking countries, creme de menthe is often served as a digestif after dinner.
And you know, that’s as true today as it was way back when. Whereas in Italy, you can often find an affogato served with a shot of coffee liqueur, like Galliano Ristretto, which is one of ours as well. As well as the prerequisite shot of espresso itself. So, you know, I think the drinking habits are so varied just as much as the number of flavors of them are..
And I think that’s what really lends liqueurs to be so broad in their applications. You can quite honestly use them for anything. That they can be drunk neat with coffee, with desserts, in a cocktail, the possibilities are endless, shall we say? But with Bols we generally aim and like to try and use our liqueurs in cocktails.
And the reason for that purely is because we’ve done all the hard work for you. You know, we’ve captured and created and harnessed the best of the ingredient that we’re trying to create so that when you take a bottle home, , you have access to the best flavor possible, and you don’t have to do the hard work.
We’ve done that for you. It makes it easier for, you know, both the home and the bartender, I guess.
Susan: I was going to ask this before, is there a way to tell a good liqueur? If someone doesn’t know anything about liqueurs and they’re looking at a bottle, is it a certain sugar percentage or a certain percentage of fruit or, or how, how can someone know a good liqueur from a bad liqueur other than a brand name?
Jamie: Absolutely. If it’s a brand that you recognize, you know, if it’s one that’s been around for 445 years, that would generally say it’s doing something. Okay. But honestly this, you know, please take this as responsible drinking, try as many of them as you can. It’s really the only way, you know, try and experiment with them and taste because you know good liqueur is, I guess it’s subjective. You know, it’s down to what the person is looking for. If someone likes really sweet style liqueurs, then find the ones that suit your flavor profile, your taste palette. If someone wants things that are more herbal or floral or wherever it might be, then the only way to really understand and find what works is to try them all and to try and find what fits for you.
But when I’m looking at for myself I kind of have a barometer in terms of what I look for. And I prefer to use liqueurs that have natural ingredients and botanicals so that you really get kind of the truest representation of the flavor that you’re looking for. You know, so if they’re using fresh or dried flowers, but you know, natural flowers instead of E numbers to create the flavor profiles.
And that’s where I think for me, Bols really stands apart from not necessarily what, what else is out there, but certainly from, from what we maybe we used to do in the, in the earlier years, sort of more recently and that’s last year we took the decision to actually revert back to our original processes.
And now we only use natural botanicals ingredients. So as of last year, really all of our bottles in our liqueurs range are made using a hundred percent natural botanicals and ingredients, which I think is a really strong move. You know, people want to understand the provenance of what goes into their food and what goes into their drink.
And we want to be able to provide them with that. So everything is natural. And the reason for that is to really create the truest flavor possible. It takes more time and effort, but we think it’s worth it.
Susan: Of course, of course. Now, following on from that about flavors. I think it would just be fun to hear. I’m really super interested in this. What flavors have you seen either? Let’s take from the sixties. Okay. What flavors were really popular then but are not so popular now and what flavors are, super popular now.
Jamie: Yeah, absolutely. So I think creme de menthe especially is one that in the sixties and seventies, super, super popular. And then it kind of dipped out of popularity for a little while. And again, back then, You know, you would have seen it in disco cocktails, things like the Grasshopper, for example and, drinks of that style.
And. It would have also been drank neat. Then it fell out of favor, kind of in the eighties and nineties. And we actually started to see like a resurgence of people wanting to drink creme de menthe, which is I love, I absolutely love it. You know, the Grasshopper is definitely during this coming back alongside that, that, you know I guess flavors like creme de cacao you know, we’re seeing Golden Cadillacs come back into fashion and which is using our creme de cacao and Galliano, which I just love the fact that we’ve got a little bit of both in there.
So I think, , we’re seeing, resurgence of those classical disco style cocktails, whichever you want to call them as a result, those flavors are really starting to come back and particularly with what we’ve been experiencing for the past year or so in terms of the pandemic, you know, there are a lot more people wanting to make cocktails at home.
And with that, they wanted to make cocktails that are easy and simple and don’t require 55 different ingredients. And generally those cocktails are the classics that you would see in all the best cocktail bars. But maybe wouldn’t have been made at home. So, so readily because of the difficulty in getting the right kind of ingredients.
Whereas now with liqueurs, you can recreate that flavor that you need. And I think in terms of flavors, you know, our Blue Curacao is always one of our best sellers.
Susan: I love it. Really. Even from.
Jamie: Exactly. Like even to this day, Blue Curacao is one of our best sellers and not just in the UK, but worldwide, which I just love.
Susan: I love that. I love that too. And we share this love of creme de menthe too. Even as a child, I can go into that later, but you know, loving the taste of mint and mint chocolate cocktails. I was always a lover of the Grasshopper from day one. . You, you started to talk about home bartending and that’s what I was going to ask you next is.
So a lot of us are stuck home and after hearing this people would be like, yes, I’m going to try a cocktail with liqueurs. Other than Triple Sec, which you said is probably, and, and of course it goes into, into some wonderful cocktails.
Where do you think the home bartenders should start when buying liqueurs? Which ones of the flavor profiles do you think are used in most cocktails? And also some of the classic cocktails.
Jamie: Sure. Yeah. I think that’s a really good one. If you’re trying to, build your, bar carts, which I know, like, I mean, I’ve got one behind me right , I can’t not have a bar cart, but I would say if you’re trying to build your or your home bar and trying to create kind of a range to start with, then really what you’re looking for.
I think as much of a range of flavors and styles as possible. So for me, I’d want to pick as like a general rule, like at least a herbal liqueur which tends to lean towards the bitter end of the flavor profile. And they use, you know, various herbs, barks, grasses. So at least have something like that.
You know, it’d be at Benedictine and one of the Bols liqueurs that sit into that flavor profile or You know, kind of the more classic, as I said, like monk and monastic style liqueurs, which are the backbone of a lot of cocktails, you know, be it. A Vieux Carré, for example something like that.
And then also you want to kind of balance it out with the fruit liqueurs that provide sweetness and floral notes and the sweeter end of the spectrum. You know, and those things might be for me, I like to always have a bottle of cherry brandy, for example. I love a Singapore sling.
So cherry brandy is a must for that. And then, creme de cassis, I love as well. And for me, I love a Bramble, which traditionally would use creme de mure, but we have a beautiful, beautiful creme de cassis, which I love, love to have and like to play around with that flavor profile.
And then, you know, those are kind of very classic. Then I say, look at more, I guess, contemporary style flavors , new ones that are coming out that allow you to experiment a little bit more with the drinks that you’re making. And for example, Bols, we released a watermelon and a cucumber liqueur last year, which are incredible, you know, like really contemporary, really kind of I’d say on brand for what we’re seeing, you know, the cucumber is incredible.
It was probably one of my favorite in the 48, I want to say, liqueur flavors that we’ve got available worldwide, but the cucumber is probably one of my top three. And the reason for that is we had a little bit of salt. So you’ve got that salinity that you get from natural cucumbers.
You have the that real like refreshing, sort of like water birth is just incredible. So I’d say try and pick five or so flavors to start with and, that might be a combination of a herbal liqueur , two or three fruit liqueurs a little bit sweeter.
And then I’d say try something that’s more contemporary. As I said, you know, something that’s a little bit newer something that you can kind of play around a little bit more with and create your own new cocktails. You know, in the UK, we’ve got 15 flavors of Bols. So if you want to buy all 15, go ahead. You know, certainly gives you enough to start with that.
Susan: Of course.
Jamie: But yeah, I’d say start smaller and work your way up, you know, like invest in your home bar and start to build up your collection. And as you become more comfortable, if you, you know, if you’ve never bartended one before, pick three flavors or three cocktails that you want to try and I’d say start with classics.
So, you know, maybe try if you like whisky, try an Old Fashioned, it doesn’t have a liqueur in it, but it’s super simple. Or if you’d like a gin based drink , the Singapore Sling has got quite a few ingredients, but they’re all liqueurs for the most part, besides the gin. And if you want to use pineapple juice, depending on how you want to try it, but I’d say pick three or four cocktails that you really want to sort of try and have them as different styles and build your home bar around those.
And then over time you can start to invest in more and more products, more and more brands, more and more spirits and liqueurs flavors and sort of add to them as you become more comfortable with what you’re doing on, you know, making the drinks. So.
Susan: Of course. You always have to start with the drinks that you love because you’re going to be wanting to drink those, you know, consistently and get that better and better. But, you know, I was so stuck in the past that I didn’t even think of asking you about innovation in liqueurs.
I’m so glad you brought that up because Hey, Eastern standard is one of my favorite cocktails. So when you were talking about cucumber, I thought, that, would be amazing in an Eastern standard. are you always innovating and deciding, okay, we’re going to add new flavors and after that, how do you decide which flavors or which new flavor profiles to explore?
Jamie: That quite honestly is the best part of the job. Inside our House of Bols where the museum and the, House of Bols Experience is, you know, when you get to walk around and sort of, I guess, relive the past 445 years, we also have above that we have an entire floor dedicated to R and D to research and development and you know, that is where the like mad scientist stuff happens. So we have Pete who’s our master distiller. He’s 80. 80 plus. So he’s been, he’s been our master distiller for a while and Pete knows everything there is to know about liqueurs and Genever. And, and that’s where a lot of our innovation comes from.
You know, Pete has an incredible palette and incredible flavor profile and he’s supported by amazing assistant distillers, like Monique, for example, who’s again, fantastic. Her grandfather was a perfumer. So again, like an incredible sense of smell and flavor and understanding of those.
So that’s where a lot of our, I guess the beginning comes from, and then we have our entire research and development department where it’s honestly like a biology lab. You know, there are test tubes and microscopes, Bunsen burners on all the time. That’s where the cool stuff really happens.
You know, that’s where the Frankenstein stuff starts.. So and I think as a, as a process, what we try and look at is, what do our consumers want, what do the people drinking our liqueurs want , what cocktails do they want to be drinking? What flavors did they want to be working with?
And what is on trend in the world now. What is happening now that we can kind of tap into and really, harness and then, how do we then also look proactively and look forward to what might be coming down the pipeline next? And I think that’s where, you know, cucumber and watermelon were a great example of that.
You know, they’ve really light, refreshing style flavors. And if you look at the rise of the spritz cocktail, for example, , we’re seeing more and more people want drinks that are light and refreshing and something, they can sip by the beach with a sun umbrella and everything else.
And those flavor profiles really work. So we’ve got some incredible cocktails that we came up with watermelon liqueur, some Prosecco, some soda, you know, just a watermelon spritz, but it is tasty, really tasty and super refreshing. And then there are other, flavors like we created a pumpkin spice liqueur which is as wild as it sounds, you know, pumpkin spice lattes in the autumn are everywhere.
And we want it to be able to have a bit of tongue and cheek fun with that and create something where, you know, make a pumpkin spiced margarita, wherever it might be, it’s wild like that the possibilities are endless, as I said before. Yeah. And I think that’s where as long as there is flavor in the world, we will always try to tap into that and harness it and create something new and fun and exciting.
And then with that as well, in terms of innovation, as I said, we’ve still got the same sort of bowling pin style shapes bottles, but it’s not just flavor that we try to innovate on. We try to innovate on what people want to do with cocktails and how they learn. So, you know, these bottles now, which are brand new in terms of the labels that we’ve included, they now have QR codes on the back.
So you can scan the QR code and it takes you through to our House of Bols portfolio, where we have every cocktail that you can think of. And it takes you through the processes of how to make them as well. So you can scan it with a QR reader on your phone. It takes you through to the page. And then you’ve got the entire encyclopedia of Bols knowledge of 445 years of cocktails.
And it shows you videos on how to make these cocktails at home. And I think that’s really important, especially with what we’re going through now, to have that kind of forethought from a business that’s 445 years old, I think is incredible. And that’s why I love the brand and what they do.
Susan: Oh, yeah, absolutely. You know, it’s funny that, that the next question that I was going to ask you was could you recommend a few cocktails? Like one, if you were in a, in a, in a winter skiing chalet or another one, if you were on the beach and I think that you have just told me those number one, the , pumpkin spiced toddy. And then on the beach, definitely that watermelon spritz. And I assume that both of those recipes are also on your site.
Jamie: Exactly. Yeah. With the pumpkin spice, they’ve got loads of different pumpkin spice recipes. That flavor isn’t available in the UK at the moment. It’s something that we’re looking at bringing in, but I’ve tried it and it’s crazy. It’s amazing. It tastes exactly like you’d expect a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks, for example.
And so, yeah, that’s, that’s amazing.
Susan: I have a feeling that a lots of people might be drinking that one neat.
Jamie: Yes. Yeah. Yeah. Over some ice delicious, with a little bit of an orange twist again is fantastic. But yeah, certainly the pumpkin spice for winter is amazing. For me, as I said before, the Martinez is my favorite and it’s such a warming drink. So Martinez personally for me is, is certainly one that I go to in the winter.
And then yeah, any of those Spritz style flavors for the summer where you’re sat by the beach, you’ve got like a thermos of pre-batched cocktails and you can just top it up with the Prosecco and soda as you’re sat by the pool on the sun lounger. So, yeah. Yeah.
Susan: Oh, I hope this summer. We hope. Now, now I know you’ve given me lots of top tips for the home bartender, but if there is one, one big one that they go, okay, Jamie Campbell says to do this, what would that be? Oh with your Bols hat on or not , it doesn’t have to be totally liqueur related.
Jamie: That’s a good one, to be honest, I think it goes back to what I said before. Pick five, and we’ll just give five as an example, you know, it could be three, it could be four, but I’d say five, because it’s a good way to start pick five of your favorite flavors. And I don’t just mean from Bols liqueurs or liqueurs in general, but just flavor profiles that you like. Do you like the taste of oranges? Do you like the taste of mint? Do you like the taste of chocolate? What is your favorite flavor? And from there, you can quite literally make hundreds of combinations of drinks whilst you get used to making them at home. And as I said before, from that you can start to branch out and add to your collection, but I’d say pick five, add them to your collection at home and pick the five flavors that you just flat out love.
And then I’d say before you start to play around with them in cocktails, try them neat when you get them. So you really understand what they taste, you know, how they taste and what they taste like, you know, is your chocolate liqueur really bitter or is it more like a milk chocolate liqueur? Is it a little bit sweeter, has it got a little bit more nuttiness to it. You know, that then helps you understand what you can do with it as a result. And what it might pair with. You know, if you’re looking at a banana liqueur, let’s say banana is one of your favorite flavors and you want to get your hands on a banana liqueur, and what does banana work with? You know, in my head, I immediately go to rum and things like pineapple, and then you’ve got things like a Pina Colada which you can make. So it’s about, I guess, trying to marry the flavors and trying to think of what works well with what, and I think that’s probably the easiest and the best way to get started.
And it’s how professional bartenders really get started as well. You know, they will look at what they’ve got in front of them, much like a chef does, or, you know, anyone who’s trying to create something. What tools do you have in front of you? And how do they combine and how do they come together to create something incredible?
And I think that’s probably my top tip is what do you have and how do they marry? Like how can you combine them to make something that’s delicious and tasty and consistent, which is where liqueurs really played up is, as I said before, we’ve done the hard work for you in creating them.
So you don’t have to worry about making a banana liqueur from scratch and potentially not getting the ratios right and then it’s different each time you have to make it. The consistency in a bottled liqueur is, what provides part of the magic. It doesn’t change, you know, so you can make the same drink over and over again, and it will be the same over and over again, if you follow the recipe. I think that’s what’s really important.
Susan: I think that’s a, that’s a great tip. Thank you. And I’m going to leave you asking the question that I always ask everyone is of course, right now it’s a little bit more poignant, but if you could be anywhere drinking anything right now, where would that be?
Jamie: I would say I’d want to be somewhere hot. And Bora Bora is one of my, like, like dream destinations. So I definitely say Bora Bora, and I cannot say no to a Pina Colada. So Pina Coladas in Bora Bora on the beach, on the private stilted, like pool that’s where I want to be right now. So
Susan: Oh, that sounds good to me. Well, thank you. I’m going to leave you thinking of that, thinking of that beautiful. Oh gosh. That space and water. And it was great to have you on the show and thanks for discussing liqueurs. I’ve learned so much.
Jamie: No, thank you. It’s always a pleasure. And thank you for letting me talk about Bols a little bit.