Dutch Courage Cocktail Recipe

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Dutch Courage Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Dutch Courage cocktail is believed to have originated in the 17th century when British soldiers fighting in the Dutch Republic were introduced to the Dutch spirit, Jenever. The soldiers found that consuming Jenever before battle helped to calm their nerves and boost their courage, hence the name 'Dutch Courage'.

  • The term 'Dutch Courage' is still commonly used today to describe the confidence gained from consuming alcohol.
  • This cocktail is popular among those who enjoy a strong, spirit-forward drink with a hint of citrus.

How Dutch Courage Tastes?

The Dutch Courage cocktail is a bold, strong, and slightly bitter drink with a hint of citrus and herbal notes. The combination of Jenever, orange bitters, and vermouth creates a complex and well-balanced flavor profile.

Interesting facts about Dutch Courage

  • The Dutch Courage cocktail is traditionally made with Jenever, a Dutch spirit similar to gin but with a more malty and herbal flavor.
  • The cocktail is typically served in a chilled coupe glass, giving it an elegant and sophisticated appearance.
  • The Dutch Courage is often garnished with a twist of orange peel, which adds a subtle citrus aroma and enhances the overall flavor of the drink.



Jenever, the juniper-flavored national spirit of the Netherlands, is the base spirit of this courageous concoction, bringing in a malty, sometimes slightly herbal flavor. Using 2oz is the sweet spot – it gives the cocktail its signature kick without overpowering the other ingredients. If you pour too little, you might not feel the Dutch courage creeping in; too much, and you could end up speaking Nederlands óf een beetje

Alex Green

Sweet Vermouth

Sweet vermouth is like a good friend - it complements the Jenever without stealing the spotlight. This aromatized wine brings in notes of herbs, spices, and sweetness. A 1oz pour balances the spirit's boldness and adds depth. Skimp on it, and the drink might lose its complexity. Overdo it, and you might feel like you're eating a herb garden, not sipping a cocktail.

Mary Mitkina

Orange Bitters

A couple of dashes of orange bitters is like pixie dust for your cocktail - it lifts the flavors and adds a citrusy, floral aroma. Missing out on these would be like forgetting your wingman on a night out - you can still have fun, but it won't be as magical. Too much, and your Dutch Courage could taste like a bitter orange grove.

Emma Rose

Orange Peel

Our co-star, the orange peel, brings a fresh and fragrant citrus note through its oils, which are expressed over the cocktail. It's a simple yet effective garnish that elevates the drink both aromatically and visually. Without it, the cocktail feels incomplete, like Batman without his cape. Plus, it's a grand finale of zestiness that sets the mood with its flair.

Alex Green

Recipe. How to make Dutch Courage Drink

  1. Chill the coupe glass: Place the coupe glass in the freezer for a few minutes to chill.
  2. Combine ingredients: In a mixing glass, combine the Jenever, sweet vermouth, and orange bitters.
  3. Stir: Fill the mixing glass with ice and stir the mixture for about 20 seconds, or until well-chilled.
  4. Strain: Strain the cocktail into the chilled coupe glass.
  5. Garnish: Express the oils from the orange peel over the drink by holding the peel over the glass and giving it a good twist. Discard the peel or place it in the drink as a garnish.

Pro Tips

  • Use fresh ingredients: The quality of your ingredients can greatly affect the taste of your cocktail. Always use fresh ingredients whenever possible.
  • Chill your glass: A chilled glass will keep your cocktail cooler for longer, enhancing the overall drinking experience.
  • Stir, don't shake: Stirring the cocktail will ensure a smoother, less diluted drink.

Perfect Pairings


  • Cheese Platter: A selection of hard cheeses such as aged Gouda can complement the nutty and malty flavors of Jenever.
  • Savory Quiches: With the herbal notes of the vermouth, a spinach or mushroom quiche would make a delightful pairing.
  • Smoked Salmon: The smoky flavors will enhance the citrus notes from the orange bitters and peel.

Main Courses

  • Roasted Duck: The rich flavors pair nicely with the aromatic complexity of the cocktail.
  • Veal Chop: The slight sweetness of the vermouth pairs well with the tenderness of veal.


  • Dark Chocolate Mousse: The bitterness of the chocolate will be a nice counterbalance to the cocktail’s sweetness.
  • Almond Biscotti: They will echo the nutty flavors in the Jenever.

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What you could change in Dutch Courage

  • Jenever: If you can't find Jenever, you can substitute it with a good quality gin. However, keep in mind that this will slightly alter the taste of the cocktail.
  • Sweet Vermouth: Dry vermouth can be used as a substitute, but it will make the cocktail less sweet.
  • Orange Bitters: If you don't have orange bitters, you can use Angostura bitters instead.

Explore all drinks starting with D here

And of course - twists🍹

Honeyed Courage

  • Jenever:2oz
  • Honey Syrup: 0.5oz
  • Sweet Vermouth: 0.5oz
  • Lemon Bitters: 2 dashes
  • Lemon Twist for garnish

Replace the orange peel and orange bitters with a honey syrup and lemon counterparts to offer a different kind of sweetness and a pop of tartness. This version caters to those with a penchant for honeyed flavors and would make the Dutch Courage a bit more approachable and mellow.

Spiced Dutchman

  • Jenever:1.5oz
  • Aged Jamaican Rum: 0.5oz
  • Sweet Vermouth:1oz
  • Angostura Bitters: 1 dash
  • Orange Bitters: 1 dash
  • Cinnamon Stick for garnish

Adding a touch of aged rum and cinnamon gives the cocktail a spicy twist, providing an exciting and warm palate experience, reminiscent of bustling Amsterdam markets. It's the perfect choice for a chilly evening or when you wish to add an exotic flair to your drink.

Green Holland

  • Jenever:2oz
  • Green Chartreuse: 0.5oz
  • Sweet Vermouth: 0.5oz
  • Orange Bitters: 2 dashes
  • Fresh Basil Leaves for garnish

Introduce a hint of herbal complexity with Green Chartreuse, harmonizing with Jenever's botanicals and creating a cocktail with layers of flavour. The basil garnish not only adds visual appeal but also a fragrant, peppery punch that makes this cocktail a herb garden in a glass.

In case you forgot basics how to make Dutch Courage

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Dutch Courage

Can Dutch Courage Cocktail be served on the rocks?

While not traditional, if you prefer a slightly diluted and chilled drink, it could be served on the rocks. It is best, however, to follow the specific recipe which is serving this cocktail in a pre-chilled coupe glass, straight-up.

What type of food pairs well with the Dutch Courage?

Due to its strong and bold flavor, the Dutch Courage pairs well with hearty bar snacks, salted nuts, olives, strong cheeses, or tapas style dishes including spicy meats.

Is Jenever similar to Gin? Can I use Gin instead for Dutch Courage?

Jenever is often compared to gin because they both contain juniper berries, but they are different spirits. Jenever has a more malty and herbal flavor whereas Gin often has a stronger juniper flavor. You can use Gin as a substitute, but the flavor profile will change.

Is there a non-alcoholic version of the Dutch Courage cocktail?

Non-alcoholic or 'Mocktail' versions are not traditional and may not mimic the taste effectively due to the lack of Jenever. However, non-alcoholic gin or vermouth could be explored for a similar sensation.

What drinks are similar to the Dutch Courage cocktail?

Other spirit-forward cocktails like the Martini or the Negroni might share some similarities. However, Dutch Courage's unique flavor from Jenever sets it apart.

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