In the heart of picturesque Dordrecht, the historic Rutte & Sons Distillery still operates in the same tiny townhouse where founder Simon Rutte started creating his distinctly flavoured spirits back in 1872.
An enchanting, evocative and appropriate setting to sample Rutte’s gins and genever, the townhouse has changed very little over the decades.
The ground floor functions as a shop in the front with the distillery in the back and in the basement. Upstairs where Simon Rutte and his family (and a few generations after that) once called their home is now a tasting room. The townhouse has been impeccably preserved – even the stills are age-old but running in top condition. Save for the free WiFi and a few other discreet 21st century upgrades, you’ll think you’d travelled back in time.
Seeing Rutte into its seventh generation, Master Distiller Myriam Hendrickx has done much to retain what’s unique and original about the drinks produced as well. She’s poured over archives and Simon Rutte’s own handwritten notes to ensure Rutte Dry Gin tastes as was intended. Her Celery Gin pays pronounced homage to the founder’s interest in celery as a botanical. Old Simon Genever provides a nutty and nicely spiced quaff that educates the palate about the legacy of Dutch Courage as it refreshes. The opportunity to sip these in situ with Myriam conducting the tasting as an absolute treat!
Yes, I was there at the distillery on a press trip. But I really didn’t get to experience anything that anyone else couldn’t do with a bit of planning. Rutte runs a variety of tours, tasting sessions and workshops for groups and individuals. The only real restriction is that guests have to be over the age of 18. Booking ahead is strongly advised, and there’s no guarantee that walkups can be accommodated.
Rutte & Sons Distillery is located at Vriesestraat 130, 3311 NS Dordrecht. Find out more at rutte.com.