Pandan is gaining popularity in the Netherlands
As a growing number of bartenders look to Asian flavours for their cocktail-inspiration, pandan, a plant native to Southeast Asia, is finding its place next to tropical fruits and roots like coconut, ginger, lychee and pineapple behind Dutch bars.
The aroma and flavour of the pandan plant is very unique and often described as a nutty leaf, being sweet, floral, and grassy all at once. When used in cocktails it comes up on the palate much later than everything else. Adding a really nice aftertaste to drinks without overpowering any other ingredients, what makes it a very versatile part to use.
In the Netherlands, Dutch-Azian restaurants use pandan already for years as an ingredient to make delicious desserts, cakes and (non-alcoholic) drinks. And recently the leaves have made a leap from kitchen to cocktail bar.
Being complex and multi layered this leaf works well with many different spirits. The sweet elements work well with spirits like rum, gin and whiskey while the delicate earth flavours also make a great match with tequila, genever and vodka.
Food Pairing with cocktails is becoming more popular in Holland and a well divined cocktail menu card leads to more revenue. Combining the many Asian inspired dishes on the menu, the Dutch are reaching towards pandan and pandan liqueur to give their cocktails an Asian twist.
In cities like Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam, renowned cocktail bars and restaurants like The Flying Dutchmen, Bricks and Ron Gastrobar DownTown are now using pandan liqueur -a 23% vol. liqueur based on pandan leaves, combined with Asian herbs and spices- to create a variety of new and exciting cocktails.