The Flying Dutchman (in Dutch: De Vliegende Hollander) is a legendary ghost ship that is doomed to sail the oceans forever and can never make port. The myth of the Flying Dutchman is likely to have originated in the 17th-century golden age of the Dutch East India Company (VOC).
The first print reference to the Flying Dutchman can be found in Travels in various part of Europe, Asia, and Africa during a series of thirtyyears and upward (1790) by John MacDonald:
“The weather was so stormy that the sailors said they saw the Flying Dutchman. The common story is that this Dutchman came to the Cape in distress of weather and wanted to get into harbor but could not get a pilot to conduct her and was lost and that ever since in awful weather her vision appears”.
Witnesses in the 19th and 20th centuries reported having seen the ship sailing, glowing with ghostly light. If hailed by another ship, he myth portrays that the crew on board of the Flying Dutchman will iniate attempts to send messages to land, or to people long time dead. In ocean lore, the sight of this phantom ship is seen as a warning of doom.
The name Flying Dutchman has been trendy in the Dutch cocktail scene in past decades and has been used for a variety of cocktails. This makes the origin of The Flying Dutchman Cocktail is almost as elusive as the legend itself. The recipe was first published by Willem Slagter in a now rare Dutch cocktail book titled Internationale Cocktailgids (International Cocktail Guide) in September 1950. In the Netherlands the author is generally considered as the authentic creator of The Flying Dutchman Cocktail, but factual historical evidence for this assumption is yet to be found. Slagter’s The Flying Dutchman focuses on an all but unknown ingredient, being Orange Gin. Orange gin virtually disappeared from the commercial market in the 1970s and is basically London Dry Gin infused with orange peels. Due to the absence of Orange Gin, The Flying Dutchman Cocktail fell into desuetude for decades, till finally in 2015 a new Dutch spirits brand, V2C, introduced a new Orange Gin, with chili contributing to the orange flavors. In The Flying Dutchman, this elusive spirit is paired with fresh orange, fresh lemon, and Angostura bitters to create bright and vivid characters that seem a paradox to its namesake.
Today, with the return of V2C Orange Dutch Dry Gin to the Dutch cocktail scene, bartenders from the Netherlands realize that once something comes back, it could become fashionable again.