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Copperhead Gin by Timo Janse


Gin has become many bars’ bread and butter for the past years. At Door 74, I am always on the lookout for new ideas and gins that can create a great experience for my guests.

Our selection of gins has grown from seven when Door 74 hid behind its Door over 6 years ago to over forty in stock at all time. This is not just for show. As I see it, every week our gins on the back bar “evaporate” and are replaced by others, as we do not have any contract with brands, and a small back bar, so we are not forced to carry any particular one.

One of the few gins that have been able to win a permanent place however is Copperhead gin.

The Liquid

Gin was invented as Jenever by an Alchemist as medicine. A pharmacist was so fascinated by this story he decided to craft a Gin to honor these Alchemistic roots. Copperhead Gin is a handmade Gin, only the middle cut of the distillate is used and the front and back distillate is flushed away, this requires a skilled distiller and is a trademark of excellence. Like real alchemists the Copperhead team searched for Gin that was great in every way ensuring the best quality, inventing the elixir of life.

The Botanicals

Gin lovers know that botanicals are the driving force behind a gin’s taste. Copperhead goes against the grain in that it only has 5 botanicals, where nowadays it is more common to see 15+ of those!
Like in cocktails, some of the hardest cocktails to perfect are the ones with the fewest ingredients as there is little space to mask shortcomings. The five botanicals in Copperhead are of course juniper berry, but also cardamom, orange peel, angelica and coriander.
Again, instead of having crazy botanicals as many others, Copperhead likes to show that the secret is in combining these few understandable ingredients into something more than the sum of its parts. Kind of like bartending. Or Alchemy.


Copperhead pays homage to the craft of Alchemy. Of the Alchemy of distilling, as Copperhead refers to the copper stills used for them, as the copper bottle, as the art of the bartender creating fine drinks.

The Blends

Another key point Copperhead does differently is their “blends”, small bitters-like bottles that complement the gin. There are three: Digestivum, Aperitivum and Energeticum. This is a great way for bars that do not make cocktails to “twist” their gin and tonics, but also a welcome twist to any bar’s bitter collection. Plus it does what it promises in terms of effect. Something that definitely was and is not always true when it comes to bitters!
Similar to the Alchemist creating his elixer and medicine.

The Perfect Copperhead

Glass: Large tumbler
Garnish: small orange zests & coriander

Pour 50 ml of Copperhead gin in the glass. Add 6 drops of your blend of choice. Fill the glass completely with ice cubes. Serve with Fever Tree Mediterranean tonic (available at Vanilla Venture, APS, or any good liquor store)

Comment: i like to use the Energeticum blend, but all blends are designed to work well of course. Don’t overdo it on the coriander as it will overpower. I personally like to stick a few branches on, so the guest can decide whether they want to put them in, or take them out.

The Cocktail: “The Copper Rose”

Glass: wine
Garnish: lemon zest and edible Hibiscus flower (available via APS)

Add 50 ml of Copperhead, 20 ml of fresh lemon juice, 25 ml of Pekoe Supreme Ceylon liqueur (available at Bart’s Bottles or good liquor store) to an empty shaker and dry shake (so with no ice). Pour into a wine glass filled with crushed ice and a straw and pour 15 ml of Lanique rose spirit over it (available via Greg at greg@vansouza.co)

Comment: this rose & tea variation of a Bramble is great for summer in the sun, or in the winter dreaming of that summer.

Got thirsty?

Come and have A Perfect Copperhead at one of the bars at Perfect Serve Barshow Amsterdam in WesterLiefde and WesterUnie in the Westerpark on 25 & 26 of May (www.perfectserve-barshow.com for tickets)

See you there!

Pictures: Ming Chao Photography