Leidse Koffie - Gastro Obscura


Leidse Koffie

A distillery's abandoned barrels of cinnamon liqueur led to this new Dutch tradition.

In the Dutch city of Leiden, coffee comes with a kick. Leidse koffie begins with a base of black brew, then gets a dash of cinnamon liqueur. Now quite popular in the city, the spiced, spiked drink was born from a happenstance discovery and a resourceful restaurant owner. 

Leidse koffie originated in Restaurant de Gaanderij in the early 1980s. Before the bistro, the building was home to a distillery. When the distillers left, they didn’t take all their equipment (some of which is still stored in the restaurant’s attic). Most importantly, they didn’t take all their booze, leaving a few barrels of cinnamon liqueur in the basement. The restaurant’s owner started pouring it into coffee, telling visitors that it was local tradition to drink it. Of course, it was not, but the owner managed to spread the word and, over time, it became true.

Though other cafes and restaurants serve Leidse coffee today, many people go to the original source to enjoy the caffeinated cocktail.

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