The ritual is called "kopstootje," pronounced kop-stow-che, and it features the national spirit of Holland, Bols Genever. It's like their version of a traditional shot-and-a-beer Boilermaker, but instead of brown likker, you get to enjoy the clean aromatic flavors of this triple distillate of corn, wheat and rye. With the addition of botanicals and juniper essences, Bols Genever is an eminently sippable cousin of your favorite gin.
Shooting gin? Sure, because something this smooth is like gin for whiskey fans. Kopstootje literally translates as a "little head butt" and is traditionally drunk from a small tulip stem glass paired with a short beer. A holiday staple in Holland, the Kopstootje is meant to be shared with friends to herald holiday cheer.
The tulip glass allows bartenders to pour the shot overfull, with the meniscus of extra liquor bulging over the rim representing the generosity to giving. This also makes it almost impossible to lift the glass off the bar without spilling some of the precious elixir. Thus the ritual.
Nobody is exactly sure of the origin of this curious ritual, but it has been popular in Holland for over two centuries. Historically, Dutch warriors got themselves good and liquored up on genever before going into battle and fought with such ferocity that the English referred to the local version of gin as "Dutch courage." It is also the main ingredient (along with vermouth and lemon juice) in the famous "Holland House" cocktail that gave our local watering hole its name.
So consider dropping by Holland House on Eastland Avenue some cold evening soon for a sip of holiday cheer and some fun camaraderie. Op uw gezondhei!