This is a preview of a seminar that will be given at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, which takes place July 20-24, 2011.
The V.O.C., better known as the Dutch East India Company, influenced world history as well as the world of cocktails. It was a corporation big enough that it waged wars, coined currency, and executed prisoners.
It was established in 1602 and given a government-granted trade monopoly with Asia, with the main purpose being to enter the spice trade that was until that point dominated by Portugal.The company was highly prosperous until the later 1700's, and it went bankrupt and dissolved in 1800. Its territories in the Dutch East Indies eventually became Indonesia.
The company established posts and protected harbors throughout Asia, first in what today is Indonesia; particularly in Jakarta. Jakarta was once called Batavia, and that brings us into the V.O.C.'s connection with Batavia Arrack.
Back at home, ships bringing spices would land at ports such as Rotterdam and offload. Rotterdam is darn close to Schiedam, a city with so many distilleries that it was coated in black soot from the smoke billowing forth from them.
Those distilleries made delicious genever, of course, which is distilled with some of those exotic spices brought home by traders. The Dutch were also famous for making liqueurs (such as Curacao) undoubtedly flavored with other exotic citrus peels, herbs, and spices brought into the country from afar.
Today Scheidem is still a distilling hub making such products as Van Gogh Vodka and Ketel One Vodka.
I'm guessing we'll be learning these and other details in this seminar.
What the V.O.C. did for the Modern Bar
Time: 10 AM to 11:30 AM
Date: Thursday the 21st of July, 2011
Venue: The Riverview Room, Hotel Monteleone
Moderators: Misja Vorstermans
Panelists: Andrew Nicholls
The seminar will address what the VOC (Dutch East India Trading Company) essentially did for the modern bar. Everything from trade of spirits to herbs, spices and slaves were established or heavily influenced by the VOC. The seminar looks at the knock on effect from the 1600's and the little country of The Netherlands helped mould the industry we know and love today.