Bols is a producer of genever, gin, vodka, and a wide range of liqueurs based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The House of Bols was founded in 1575, which makes it not only the oldest Dutch company still operation, but also the oldest commercially active distillery in the world.
It was Lucas Bols who turned Bols into an international brand, utilizing herbs and spices brought back to the Netherlands by Dutch East India flagged ships. Lucas Bols was born in 1652, during the Golden Age -- a time of Dutch dominance in the areas of trade, finance, learning and science. The company first produced genever in 1664.
By 1816, the last of the Bols line had died and the company was put up for sale. Part of the sales agreement was that the company retain the name Lucas Bols, and in exchange, the new owners received 250 handwritten recipes from the Bols family.
In 1850, the company was sold to the Moltzer family, who would run Bols for the next hundred years, until Bols was turned into a publicly traded company. In 2000, the company was sold to Remy-Cointreau, who ran it until it was sold back into Dutch hands in 2006.
The Bols line of spirts and liqueurs is vast -- they produce jonge and oude genever, and corenwyn, an oak aged, 100% grain spirit, gin and vodka. They also produce a wide range of brightly colored liqueurs, with some being more common like amaretto, coffee, and butterscotch, and some being exotic, like green banana, yogurt, green tea, and litchi.
Some popular cocktails containing Bols
- 69 Holland — Genever, Gin, Meletti Amaro, Amontillado Sherry, Peach bitters, Grapefruit peel
- Armada — Genever, Sherry, Gin, Drambuie
- The Exporter — Genever, Drambuie, Becherovka, Falernum, Bitters, Lemon juice, Lemon peel
- Guilder & Franc — Genever, Aromatized wine, Swedish bitters, Lemon peel
- Flying Dutchman (Jardinière) — Genever, Herbal liqueur, Bénédictine, Lemon juice