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Bend it Like Beckham? This Dutch Beer Drinking Ritual Might Just Make You

Are you familar with Kopstooge? A funny and interesting Dutch practice of not only holding to your drink, but also drinking it with some style.

Manu Remakant |

Updated:November 25, 2018, 12:25 PM IST
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Bend it Like Beckham? This Dutch Beer Drinking Ritual Might Just Make You
A man sits at the bar of old fashioned cafe Het Spuitje at the Spuistraat in Amsterdam April 28, 2013. (Representative Image/ Reuters)
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News18 Tippling Point Have you ever been to the streets of Amsterdam, Netherlands? You must, as an Indian, for the Dutch had this soft corner for us when their trading company decided to do business with far off lands, centuries ago. They came as traders to the coasts of our country. Had it not been for the greedy British who came later and upsetted the plans of Netherands, perhaps, this article might have been written in pure Dutch, and you will be reading it and nodding with a glass of genever warming in your hand.

Then you would also have been familar with Kopstooge, a funny and interesting Dutch practice of not only holding to your drink, but also drinking it with some style.

So what the hell is Kopstooge!

To know that let us take a stroll for a nice bar along this street in Amsterdam. The city is a haven for drinkers with more than 1400 cafes and bars (there are no rules that stipulate that a bar should be 100 meters away from a temple. Believe me, taverns themselves are temples at some parts of the world).

Time to hop into one of the many brown cafes that dot the roadside. These are humble, unassuming homely places which are a world away from the chic, garish bars you see at home.

Begin a day with a coffee, and then slowly give yourself in to a good beer or something stronger. Netherlands drink more beer than many other European countries can ever dream of.

Elsewhere there are bars, taverns, clubs, joints, rooms, but in the Netherlands you have Proeflokaal, tasting rooms where you can sample the Dutch spirits. Let’s begin with the best of the taverns, which still keep the old world charm. If you have any doubts about the long Dutch drinking tradition, peek into the unpretentious De Drie Flescjes(The three little bottles), established in 1650, by Bols distillery. It specializes in liqueurs and a variety of Genevers (Dutch gin).

Or consult Café de dokter founded in 1798 by a surgeon. Owned by the family Beems, it was once a chill-out station for doctors and medical student. The pub is now famous for Brand beer form Limburg and for delicious house wines.

Well, what would you do once you’re inside a bar in Amsterdam? Get friendly with a barman and tell him to get you the taste of his country.

You would soon be served with a tulip glass of genevar and a beer chaser in a separate cup. Genever and beer. The genever should be filled to the brim of the tulip glass so that the meniscus of the drink bulges out of the glass. Gorgeous.

Now this is getting hot. You can’t spill the drink. You must take your first sip. How!

Well, put your hands away. Now bend down from your waist and slurp the genever fancying yourself as a cat slurping a bowl of milk. Now take a swig of beer to chase the genever down the system. Take alternative sips from the two drinks at your leisure. Have fun.

You have just performed a Kopstootje. Congrats.

Do you have the guts to perform that here? Well, that needs a bit of Dutch courage, boy.

So for the slow-takers, here’s again the Kopstootje ritual in detail:

1. Put tulip glass on the table.

2. Pour a small glass (6 to 8 oz) of beer and put it near the tulip glass.

3. Pour chilled genever carefully into tulip glass until it's so full that the top bulges.

4. Bending from the waist, take the first, generous sip of the genever.

5. Straighten up and have a sip of the beer.

Proost! (Cheers)

(Manu Remakant is a freelance writer who also runs a video blog - A Cup of Kavitha - introducing world poetry to Malayalees. Views expressed here are personal)
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