Hedonist Society: Mystique

The Dutch East India Company (VOC) was established in The Netherlands just 58 years before Onder de Boompjes Distillery was set up to make their first traditional genevers in Leiden. This month’s Hedonist adventures will be devoted to genever and spice trade mysteries.

The VOC was granted two decades of monopoly to carry out trade activities in Asia and they made its biggest profits from the spice trade.  Inspired by the spice trade and VOC travels is our next bar, an iconic place called Mystique settled quietly in one of the most beautiful streets in Amsterdam; the Utrechtsestraat.

When entering we stumbled upon the open kitchen where we could smell the spices and sauces being used to prep for the busy evening. At the ground floor there are a few cozy tables surrounded by Far East inspired modern interior. The lights dimmed and the dark colors inspire a relaxing and mysterious atmosphere.

Going down an iron staircase we entered the bar area to meet one of the owners Eldridge Arah. Eldridge was wearing his white shirt and leather apron, ready to mix some genever surprises for us and talk about his passion.

Two years ago, together with his partner Sergej Fokke, they started Mystique. Their idea was to establish a place where you can have original quality drinks and enjoy a superb dinner. The inspiration behind the core concept is the Dutch spice trail. The drinks and the food at Mystique are galvanized by the exotic spices and flavors from the VOC travels from far-away grounds. All the delicious suggestions in the menu consist of ingredients that came from somewhere else, a distant mysterious place. Everything at this place can be defined by Hedonism, it’s unpretentious and ignites your senses.

His motto:  I want to give people the full experience, value for money at the bar. Going back to the standards of a bartender the way they used to be.

Describe yourself with a few sentences: 
The team builder, it’s not me that’s important is the experience that’s important.

What is your favorite taste, if you are on the other side of the bar:
Every time of the day is a different flavour, usually I go for more purer flavours or for some bitterness. More complex drinks. Or just a beer.

What is your favorite place to chill?
At home, in Amsterdam.

Favorite food? If you are in a deserted island and come back…
Freshly prepared fish. Like: really fresh and good quality.

How do you use genever in cocktails?
The interest for genever international has been higher than in Holland for several years now. You have a few high quality artisanal genevers, you cannot get from any other spirit brand.  Anywhere for a substitution for gin and whisky flavours for the malt and as a stand-alone premium spirit. They are discovering it’s very versatile.