Fearsome cocktail 'The Walking Dead' offers taste of liquid danger in the oldest part of Amsterdam. Based on the potent classic the 'Zombie', HPS’s secret recipe is served (and then set on fire) in a giant glass skull, and features three different types of rums including Bacardi 151. Bar-imposed limit: one per night.
On a corner in the north-eastern outskirts of the Jodenbuurt, cocktail gem HPS lives up to its name. Upon entry, the small ground-level bar and cramped seating area don’t seem to offer much more than the staff’s smiles. Up a flight of steps, however, a luxuriantly louche leather-couch seating puts you on eye level with chalkboards full of chemistry notations above the bar. Flashes of florid wallpaper play backdrop to bookshelves and worn curiosities like an antique radio, pinned butterflies and pocket-watch motifs.
Beautifully turned-out staff members will presently appear bearing free water, massive, fresh green Cerignola olives and mixed nuts, along with a stack of exquisite letterpress-style menus. Although the bar looks fully stocked, aside from a short but respectable list of wines and a €5 bottled beer from Dutch brewer Swinckels, the menu is all about the 16 craft cocktails on offer, ranging from €8 to €16. The €16 price tag is reserved for house specialty, 'The Walking Dead', whose cinnamon sprinkles crackle and spark as the drink is set on fire at your table. Racier drinkers will find the concoction goes down a little too smoothly...
Luckily, the rest of the cocktails measure up to the same exacting standards, with house-concocted ingredients like strawberry-infused cachaça (in the 'Morango Fizz', €12) and popcorn-infused rum (the 'Cinema Highball', €8). If the sultry atmosphere has you craving fresh and fizzy, opt for the HPS Mule, an Asian-influenced taste of summer that incorporates vodka, ginger beer, orange and lime juices, house-made syrup and muddled cucumber. Good to know that, whatever the weather, a sip of summer is always at hand in this boozy hideaway. Elysia Brenner, Time Out Amsterdam
Hiding in Plain Sight, Rapenburg 18, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. +31 20 737 1890. www.hpsamsterdam.com
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Picture by Mark Smith