Carboys filled with liqueurs of every color from the rich red of the blood orange and vodka liqueur to the emerald of creme de menthe and the fruity yellow limoncello line the shelves, ready to fill the bottles brought in by customers or those bought from the shop. Rare whiskies pack the shelves at the back of the shop, and oils, herb teas, and exciting sounding vinegars are piled high in the middle. Presiding over this bazaar of delights is F. Irene Hennig, a charming lady who speaks very good English, and who helped me make judicious choices from her stock as my instinct was to buy every one even though I knew it was impossible.
Distille in Hamburg: Spirits, Liqueurs
In Hamburg, Germany, just off the Rathausmarkt (Town Hall Square) is a marvellous shop called Distille that seduces with rich aromas of freshly made liqueurs. Heaven!
Every so often, in a serendipitous moment, one chances upon a really unusual shop and on a recent trip to Hamburg, Germany, I had one of those moments. Not far from the RatHausmarkt in Hermanstrasse 40, I came across Destille Hamburg, a shop full of the most wonderful alcohol potions.
The attractive window stopped me in my tracks with a display of beautiful bottles and carboys filled with mouth-watering liqueurs and once inside I was seduced by more of the same plus the sensuous smell of good liqueurs, whiskeys and fruits.
Here you will find more than 160 glass balloons filled with fruit liqueurs, spirits, brandies, grappas, Malt and Single Malt whiskeys from Scotland, Ireland and the USA and much more. As well as the liqueurs and spirits there are vinegars and oils (from extra virgin to pumpkin seed oil), rare teas and wines from around the world, different types of pasta, Italian antipasti and selected types of mustard.
Buy a Beautiful Container or Decanter or Bring Your Own
The range of glass containers is enormous, although you can bring along your own container to be filled – handy for the locals – but I spent a long time deciding between the bulbous bottles and the finely chiselled hand-blown carafes with fancy handles before settling on a few plain small ones for private consumption and some more flamboyant styles for presents. There were exclusive hand-blown bottles (with figures inside the bottle for instance) and delicate engraving on the outside, but as I was flying home and would have to pack the bottles in my luggage for the hold, I reluctantly had to give these a miss.
Attractive Bottles at Back of Shop
98 Different Liqueurs and Fortified Wines and 74 Brandy and Spirit Liqueurs
It was gratifying to know I could taste anything I wanted before buying but after a few spoonfuls of the 40% liqueurs I opted for discretion in my tasting as the afternoon was yet young and the whiskey liqueur and one of the grappas had one helluva kick.
The owner of this shop, F. Irene Hennig told me that she currently stocks over 98 different liqueurs and fortified wines with fruits and berries sourced from all over the world. Some of the more unusual ones I spotted was a rhubard vodka and a blood orange vodka liqueur.
In the brandy and spirits range she carries over 74 types from many different countries including Williams Bulb Brand, apricot brandy and Apple Age Bodensee, over 26 forest herb oils, 28 various nature and wine vinegars, and 18 different vinegar balms e.g. orange balsam, balsam de Cassis.
Many of the malt whiskies are classics,some are rarities, and the Grappa and wine selection includes Grappa Chardonnay from Trentino as well as premium wines straight from the barrel , while the sherries range from the driest Manzanilla to the finest of Cream Sherry.
Interior of Shop with Liqueurs
Ideas for Christmas Presents for Drinkers and Non-Drinkers Alike - Something for Everyone
Moving away from the distillery side of things, the teas (both fruit and black teas) were very tempting, as were the speciality noodles (salmon and paprika) and homemade pastas.
There is still 3 months to go until Christmas but I’m pleased with my unusual purchases as I am sure my friends will be when they opened their presents on Christmas Day. For some it will be teas and small bottles of something rare, for others oils and vinegars and for myself and the house party, some exotic coloured liqueurs in gorgeous bottles, orange, blue, purple and lemon liquids guaranteed to make my Christmas party go with a swing.
Me with my Purchases, possibly too many, but everyone stops to be photographed with the animated figure in the background who reaches out and touches the unwary at unexpected times.
Where to find Distille, Hamburg
If you are in Hamburg at any time, I urge you to visit Irene Hennig at her shop in Hermannstrasse, 40 (tel: 040 30 38 26 79) open Monday to Saturday 10.00 – 18.00 hrs