The Double Dutch twins are packing double the flavour
It seems when you come from the birthplace of gin, that mixology should (in part) come quite naturally. This is exactly the case with Joyce and Raissa De Haas, the sisters behind Double Dutch Drinks, whose mixers are the perfect twin for any spirit.
In conversation with the Double Dutch sisters, we talk about Eureka moments, their favourite London places, and how they are aiming to be Less Ordinary. We also discovered how their business came about from the realisation that while the world’s choice of spirits continued to grow, mixers and sodas have lagged behind. “Less of a twin, more of a shadow”, in so many words. From this, Joyce and Raissa have created a distinct flavour pairing technique to create mixers that will make your drinking experience a little bit Less Ordinary - with or without spirits!
Tell us a little bit about yourself what you do/your idea/your business does?
We are Joyce and Raissa de Haas, identical twins from the Netherlands and the co-founders of Double Dutch Drinks.
What was the spark or Eureka moment for you? Tell us where the idea for your project/business came from?
After studying in Antwerp, we both started working in banking. After about six months, we realised that this wasn’t the career for us and wanted to do something a bit more creative. This was essentially our Eureka moment — we gave up our jobs in finance and moved to London with the goal of starting our own company. Our Master’s dissertation at UCL focused on the fact that the spirit industry was developing rapidly, but that the market for quality mixers was not. We won an award for the most promising start-up and received our first initial investment from the university. We used this to start producing and selling. Four years down the line and we are going from strength to strength!
In what ways do you push the boundaries and try to be ‘less ordinary’ with what you do/your company does?
We think that becoming Less Ordinary is essentially the goal for our Double Dutch tonics and mixers. Our technique in itself is quite less ordinary. We came across a molecular technique of flavour pairing that finds the chemical components that certain spirits have in common with certain ingredients.
We tried many flavour combinations and researched with hundreds of customers, bartenders, mixologists, and industry experts. After seven months, we produced our first two mixers: our fresh and summery Cucumber & Watermelon and herbal and earthy Pomegranate & Basil. Since then, we have developed two new flavours and are continuing to develop new tonics and mixers as we speak — so watch this space!
Is there a neighbourhood in London that you feel a real connection to? If so, which neighbourhood, and why? 
We definitely have a real connection to the Bloomsbury and Marylebone neighbourhood, primarily because this is where Double Dutch Drinks came to life. Our initial idea for the business came about during our time at University College London just off Gower Street. Our first office space was on Tottenham Court Road, which then expanded to our current office in Marylebone. We’ve kept everything very local! 
45 Jermyn Street
What trusted ‘less ordinary’ place in London do you find yourself going back to time and time again? 
We have a select few restaurants that we find ourselves going back to time and time again, one is Yen Burger in London Bridge. There are loads of burgers restaurants in London, but Yen is definitely a little different with their Asian inspired burgers and cocktails. Other great spots are the brewery and rib joint Pitt Cue near Liverpool Street, and 45 Jermyn St which is a contemporary and stylish brasserie in St. James’s. Aside from restaurants, we like Swingers in the West End, it’s a crazy golf course with different bars and multiple street-food vendors. We recently had a team event there, and we can guarantee it will be a good night!
What are your ‘less ordinary’ hidden gems in London? Why do you think it’s special?
There are so many ‘less ordinary’ hidden gems in London, especially speakeasies. Two of ours favourites are The Night Jar on Old Street and their sister bar Oriole in Farringdon. Both are 1920s themed and have lovely candlelit tables, quality cocktails and live jazz and swing bands. Another gem is the Victorian Bath House near Liverpool Street, which occupies a Grade II listed building from 1895. The marble floored rooms are decorated with oriental lanterns, Turkish tiling, and original stained glass -  It’s unlike any other bar in London. 
Hotel V NespleinHotel Pulitzer, Amsterdam
Which ‘less ordinary’ B&Bs, hotels or apartments have you discovered and fell in love with in other cities you travel to?
One of our favourite cities to visit in Europe is Antwerp. In our opinion, it’s a really underrated European City and has so much to offer. The cobblestone lanes, the beautiful cathedrals, and the Scheldt River – are all really beautiful. There are several hidden gems but one of our favourite places to stay is De Gulde Schoen. It’s modern, trendy, and located in the old town which is perfect for exploring.
Another city that we fall in love with time and time again is Amsterdam. You’re spoilt for choice of places to stay in the city, but we recommend staying somewhere directly on the river in the centre like the Pulitzer or Hotel V. Nesplein. These central riverside locations mean that you’re only a short walk from the main sights, restaurants, and nightlife. 
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Interview by Hannah Tan-Gillies
 

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