Damrak Gin - History, Cocktails, and More!

Damrak Gin – History, Cocktails, and More!

August 12, 2015

We often get requests for gin that don’t taste like someone punched you in the mouth with a pine branch. Although the very juniperous gins were invented as a tonic and the word gin is in fact only a classic English mispronunciation of the Dutch word for Juniper— “jenever” – there are a number of gins that feature other flavors and are not just a mouthful of juniper.

Damrak, named for the Dutch port, is probably the oldest and most classic example of a less juniperous gin. It is well priced, and features a crisp and delightful snap of orange that finishes smooth, clean, and perfect for many classic gin cocktails! Perhaps the most elegant presentation for Damrak is the classic martini with Dolin Dry Vermouth and, given its particular disposition, it might stand best garnished with a twist of orange instead of lemon or an olive.

The variety and complexity of gin is astounding and unique in a world where, more often than not, spirits have traditionally been made from what is abundant locally. Well, it turns out that because of the shipping industry in the Netherlands just about everything was available in the 17th century when the Dutch invented gin. Listed here are a number of classic gin cocktails that we believe realize their highest potential with the less juniperous, pleasantly citrusy Damrak Gin. Any of the following recipes that call for orange juice could just as well use fresh squeezed or muddled orange. Assume about 2 oz of juice per orange.

*Most of these recipes are pulled from The Bartender’s Bible, which is also available here at Wine World & Spirits.

1 oz Campari
1 oz Damrak gin
1 oz Dolin sweet vermouth
1 lemon (or orange) twist

Combine liquid ingredients in a tumbler glass over ice, stir, and garnish.

Flying Dutchman
2 oz Damrak Gin
.5 oz Cointreau or Triple Sec

Combine over ice in tumbler and stir

French 75
1.5 ounces Damrak Gin
2 tsp fine sugar
1.5 oz lemon juice
4 oz chilled sparkling wine
1 orange slice
1 cherry

Combine Damrak, sugar, and lemon juice over a half pint of ice and shake well. Pour into Collins glass, add sparkling wine and stir. Garnish with orange slice and cherry. For a more elegant presentation, after shaking, strain into a champagne flute, add sparkling wine, and garnish with orange twist

2.5 oz Damrak Gin
1 tsp Dolin Dry Vermouth

There are billions of ways to prepare a martini and much lore as to why. We are of the mind that less is more when it comes to vermouth. Although some say that you should just present the bottle of vermouth to the martini, we feel strongly that a dash or two should actually be added to the liquid. Also, the gin won’t be hurt if you shake it on ice – it can add some bit of viscosity and mouthfeel.

Whichever way you prefer, we highly recommend garnishing with an orange twist and, for funzies, if you cut a bit of orange peel and gently warm it with a flame, you can then squeeze the orange peel in the same way that you would fold it. This will release flammable oils which, when squeezed through a flame, add an intriguing roast to the profile. If burnt is not your thing you can just rub it around the rim for an extra boost of citrus.

The Abbey
2 oz Damrak Gin
1.5 oz orange juice
2 dashes orange bitters
1 maraschino cherry

Pour over half pint of ice, shake well, strain into martini glass and garnish w orange slice

Orange Blossom
2 oz Damrak Gin
1 oz orange juice
1 tsp super fine sugar
1 orange slice

Combine Damrak Gin, juice, and sugar over half pint of ice, shake well, and strain into martini glass. Garnish with orange slice.


If you’ve shied away from gin in the past, you need to try the citrousy variation that is Damrak. There’s a gin cocktail out there for everyone when you start with a base of this elegant and versatile spirit.

Pick some up at Wine World & Spirits today for your cocktailing this week!