Voted as the favourite vodka of bartenders the world over, Ketel One is known for its smooth quality and sophisticated taste, but behind this unique spirit is over 327 years of distillery expertise.

Much of Ketel One’s success is testament to its founders, the Nolet family. Their passion for creating unique spirits, coupled with a meticulous attention to detail and innate understanding of good hospitality, led to the family’s incredible legacy in the spirits industry that remains today.

FAMILY ROOTS

It all started in the town of Schiedam, Holland in 1691, when Joanness Nolet, the first in a line of ten generations involved in Ketel One, founded what he believed to be the perfect distillery. Three generations later, the humble town of Schiedam was elevated to “capital of spirits” when it evolved into a hub of distillery activity.

Fast forward to the late 1700s at the height of the French Revolution. Jacobus, a fifth generation Nolet, was forced to overcome numerous obstacles the war threw at them and resolved to keep the business running. He succeeded.

In 1794, Jacobus then solidified the family’s establishment in the area when, with the help of his contemporaries, he built a windmill to process grain for the entire town. And the ever-popular distillers’ mantra was born ‘no pain, no grain’.

STARS AND STRIPES

In 1867, after much success in Holland, the Nolets decided to take their business to the world, starting with America.

By the early 1900s, the family had secured a second distillery in the United States. Plans were soon scuppered, however, when the Volstead Act introduced Prohibition and the Nolets were forced to close the doors.

Back in Holland, World War II had brought further challenges for the family. However, despite these turbulent years on both sides of the Atlantic, the family’s distillery was one of a handful of 40 distilleries in the country to survive the war.

In the years that followed, production continued and in the 1970s, Carolus Nolet (Carl Sr.), a 17-year veteran of the distillery, took over the business.

DUTCH COURAGE

Determined to craft a vodka that would succeed in global markets, Carl Sr. travelled to the forefront of cocktail culture in 1983: America. Carolus recognised bartenders were the closest to his product and so conducted research to gain insights and learnings.

Compelled by his conversations in America, Carl Sr. recognised an opportunity to create a great spirit that was designed for cocktail recipes and could play a role in the growing cocktail culture.

BACKED BY THE BAR

Bringing together years of experimentation and drawing on the meticulous tasting notes of his great, great grandfather, Carl Sr. crafted the perfect recipe for Ketel One Vodka.

Combining modern column distillation with the unique liquid produced by copper pot stills, Ketel One was born. Carl Sr. named it after the oldest, coal-fired copper pot still used at the distillery, Distilleerketel #1. An image of the still adorns every label of Ketel One Vodka bottles today, paying homage to its contribution.

A year later, Carl Sr. personally revisited the American bartenders who inspired his vision for Ketel One, sharing a bottle of his new creation with each of them. In no time at all, word had spread and Ketel One started being stocked in some of America’s number one bars.

INNOVATION: KETEL ONE BOTANICAL

Today, Ketel One is an award-winning vodka, inspiring bartenders around the world, as well as creating a culture where community is at the heart of its processes.

For 7 years straight now, Ketel One has been the #1 choice for vodka for bartenders from the world’s best bars (Drinks International Report, 2019).

Today, the Nolet family is as invested as ever and still committed to community and innovation. This is evident with last year’s introduction of the new Ketel One Botanical range - quality spirit drinks made with vodka and distilled using real botanicals.

This new range reflects the family’s close connections to hospitality, relying on feedback to inform their innovations, and focus on creating a serve that is filled with the most flavoursome ingredients. The Ketel One Botanical range is distilled with natural botanicals and infused with natural fruits, offering a great alternative to wines or spirtz drinks when served with soda.

KETEL ONE IN THE BAR

Ketel One is a great canvas for crafting excellent drinks with a quality vodka, providing a serve that tastes like no other. It is also the perfect vodka to get creative with and goes great with natural ingredients like homemade syrups and local sourced garnishes.

Here are a few recipes for you to try in your bar or restaurant to get you started;

Ketel One Bloody Mary

RECIPE

PREPARATION:

  1. Muddle two chopped rings of yellow bell pepper in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Add 50ml Ketel One, 90ml tomato juice, 20ml Harveys Bristol Cream, 8 drops of Tabasco and 4 dashes of Worcestershire sauce.
  3. Dip the rim of a highball glass in salt & pepper and fill with ice.
  4. Rock the drink with ice and fine-strain to serve, garnishing it with a celery stick.

Alcohol content: 18.6g per serve

Espresso Martini

RECIPE

PREPARATION:

  1. Shake all ingredients
  2. Strain into chilled martini glass.

Alcohol content: 15.8g per serve

KEY TAKEAWAYS

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