Cocktailbar Amsterdam The Dylan

Bartender Reveal: Lady Birch

You have probably heard of him already: Maarten, our Head Bartender. Maarten is the creative force behind the unique cocktail menu of Bar Brasserie OCCO.

Maarten, could you tell a bit more about yourself?

So my name is Maarten van Vliet, I’m 33 years old and I’ve been with The Dylan for over 10 years now! I’ve left a couple of times to explore other opportunities but always found my way back to the hotel.
I started as an intern as part of my hotelschool studies which enabled me to explore different departments within the hotel, from banquets to Restaurant Vinkeles and from Front Office to my current and favourite: Bar Brasserie OCCO.

Interesting! Tell us, what do you like so much about The Dylan and your role as Head Bartender? 

What I like most about my job is the diversity in my duties, the personal contact with our guests and the liberty to develop unique and special cocktails. The fact that The Dylan is a standalone, family-owned property and not part of any chain really suits me. Many colleagues have been working here for a long time and the hotel is a second home to me. Also, there is a lot of appreciation and room for creativity and personal development, which I think is great! Of course, this benefits my creations for the cocktail menu.

As a true mixologist, you develop the most exciting and creative cocktails. One of your latest creations is ‘’Lady Birch’’, could you introduce this lady to us?

Lady Birch is a fusion of 3 quintessential Russian symbols: the birch, the Russian doll (also known as matryoshka) and Vodka. She is mysterious and surprising, like a theatre can be. This is a unique addition to our cocktail menu, which is inspired by the very first theatre of Amsterdam whose premises are nowadays home to hotel The Dylan.

How unique! So how did you come up this cocktail? Where did you find your inspiration?

Due to the pandemic, I had some more time to further deep-dive on my interests and focus on my creativity. In my family, everyone is a collector: my father collects antique meat grinders and bamboo, my little brother collects everything with ducks, my older brother collects toby jugs and whiskies and my mother collects matryoshka’s. The latter really fascinates me and this is where my inspiration started. In my spare time I often enjoy a good sauna and sometimes I even voluntarily work there and fulfil the role of sauna master, guiding the rituals. One of the rituals is inspired by the Russian ”Banja”, where you are hit with birch twigs. It sounds strange but it truly is great! It’s a cultural thing in Russia, just like the matryoshka’s and obviously Vodka. During one of my sauna sessions, I was inspired to combine these three Russian symbols in a cocktail, and this is how Lady Birch was born…

Great, thank you for introducing Lady Birch to us, Maarten!