In honor of its 150th anniversary, Holland America Line is celebrating its Dutch heritage by releasing an on board-exclusive gin, De Lijn, which translates to ‘The Line’ in English. Crafted from a blend of Dutch-inspired botanicals, including orange, lemon verbena, juniper, and elderberry, the gin is available in all bars and lounges fleetwide, and is also the backbone to three of the cruise line’s new signature cocktails.
“Made in America by Blue Spirits Distilling (in Cashmere, WA), each botanical is cold distilled separately for distinct and consistent flavors, directly inspired by the Netherland,” says Drew Foulk, product development manager for Holland America Line’s Food & Beverage Innovation sector. Foulk explains that the mega-cruise line sought to produce a blend that both captured Dutch heritage, while simultaneously using the botanicals in a modern way.
Holland America Line’s three commemorative cocktails featuring De Lijn are as follows:
Dutch 150: A twist on a French 75 made with De Lijn Gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and sparkling wine, garnished with an orange twist and served up in a Champagne flute.
150th Martini: Classic Martini: Featuring De Lijn Gin and Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth, stirred, garnished with an orange twist, and served up in a martini coupe glass.
150th Gin & Tonic: An exclusive drink prepared tableside in the Pinnacle Grill specialty restaurant, produced from 2 parts gin, one bottle of Fever Tree Premium Indian Tonic, and an assortment of five seasonal botanicals.
In addition to the three signature cocktails (as well as neat or rocks pours), Foulk reveals that travel-sized bottles of De Lijn will soon be available for purchase on the ships via each stateroom’s en-suite mini bar. The bottle’s beautiful-yet-minimalist label features the product’s name in Dutch orange, and is decorated with signature blue juniper berries.
“De Lijn is a premium product made in America, inspired by the Netherlands, specially crafted for Holland America Line, so the end result is a drink that ties all elements of the Holland America brand together,” says Foulk. Foulk explains that De Lijn is Holland America’s iteration of the fast-growing New Western Dry Gin category, which offers a lighter use of juniper, and thus can often act as a gateway gin expression for those new to the spirit.
Upon getting wind of the spirit, I was curious to try the gin for myself. As someone who doesn’t usually reach for gin as their go-to spirit, I found the product extremely approachable. On the nose, aromas of juniper, burnt citrus, tea leaf, and hints of clean linen led to a bright and clean palate laden with herbaceous flavors of light citrus, juniper, green leaves, and dried herbs. The gin’s finish was soft and airy, with a slight bite at the very end. Foulk describes that the gin was created by selecting a “bright and floral profile, though finished slightly over-proofed, making it ideal for mixing cocktails.” Even sipped neat, I found the gin simply delightful.
Although released in 2023 for Holland America Line’s 150th anniversary, De Lijn gin will continue to be available onboard beyond the close of this year.