An espresso martini and a French martini next to a bottle of Ketel One Vodka.

Blogs & Inspiration

The History of Ketel One Vodka

Learn the roots of the sophisticated Ketel One Vodka and how to use it effectively in your venue. 

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Historic Dutch Vodka

The smooth taste and ability to perfectly balance cocktails, has ensured Ketel One is consistently voted the world’s favourite vodka by bartenders. 

Delight your guests with this distinctively smooth and sharp spirit, influenced by over 327 years of distillery expertise. Using Ketel One gives your drinks an edge, so master this spirit to enhance your venue and your profits.   

Learn about the origin of Ketel One in the Dutch ‘capital of spirits’, the production process and why it is the perfect vodka for creative cocktail making 

Despite the long history, the brand isn’t afraid of innovation, with the recent Ketel One Botanical range allowing you to create inspired serves like the Espresso Martini.

A Family History

Much of the Ketel One brand's success can be attributed to the Nolet family:

  • The Nolet family started a distillery in 1691, with their passion for detail and excellence setting the foundations for this quality vodka.  
  • Decades later, The Nolet's literally put the town of Schiedam, Holland, on the map, as the distillery helped it become the capital of spirits three generations later.   
  • In the late 1700s, the French Revolution threatened the survival of the distillery. Jacobus Nolet, a fifth-generation Nolet, held firm to keep the business running and eventually solidified the family's establishment by building a windmill to process grain for the entire town.  
  • In 1867, the Nolet family decided to expand and take their business to America, where they secured a second distillery in the United States by the early 1900s. Prohibition swifty forced the Nolet family to close it down. 
  • World War I and II wreaked personal havoc on the family and the distillery. Thankfully, by the time the war ended, it was one of 40 distilleries in Holland to survive the war. 

Built by Bartenders

In the 1970s, Carolus Nolet, a long-serving veteran of the distillery, took over the business. 

Hell-bent on crafting a vodka that would thrive in international markets, Carolus travelled to the heart of classic cocktail culture in 1983, a place the company tried before: America.   

Understanding that the bartenders and mixologists were the most influential in the success of any spirit, he listened to them and learned that a vodka designed for cocktail making was the greatest opportunity.    

He was able to then draw on the distilling notes and knowledge of past Nolet generations and combine it with modern column distillation, produced in copper pot stills, to craft the Ketel One, that we all love today.    

Named after the oldest copper pot still used at the distillery, Distilleerketel #1, it demonstrates how crucial the generation-spanning history of the Nolet family is for this spirit.

Innovating off an Idol

Today, Ketel One is an award-winning vodka and remains the bartender’s spirit of choice when crafting delicious vodka-based cocktails. 

Despite that, Ketel One does not rest on its laurels and continues to innovate to meet the evolving needs of bartenders and their guests. 

The recent Ketel One Botanical range exemplifies this desire for innovation.   

Distilled with real botanicals to give the vodka a light, floral and fragrant profile, it helps bartenders create more flavourful drinks, giving them another tool to delight their guests.  

Bursting with natural fruit flavours, it offers a great alternative to wines and spritz drinks when served with soda.

Key Takeaways

  • Ketel One has been voted the best Vodka by bartenders for multiple years as it is perfect for cocktail creation.  
  • Created by the Nolet family in the Netherlands, Ketel One is part of over 10 generations of family distilling. 
  • Named after the oldest copper pot still at the distillery, Ketel One has been designed with bartenders at the forefront.  
  • Ketel One is not scared of change, with its innovative botanical range offering bartenders a new tool in cocktail creation.

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