With the resurgence in the cocktail movement, many drinkers looking for a more eclectic experience are turning toward more traditional recipes and ingredients.
Bols Genever is such a spirit.
While English gin is now most popular, back in the 19th century this malty Dutch version was a bestseller. Many of the cocktails that are currently made with gin were originally made with genever. These first cocktails were often made with genever, because of its powerful, delicious flavors and balanced mixing qualities.
Bols Genever was reintroduced to America in 2008. A relaunch of an old, old spirit, Genever was the precursor to English gins, as well as being the origin of the phrase ‘Dutch Courage’. This is a totally authentic and unique drink that should be tried by anyone with an interest in gin.
Produced according to the original 1820 Lucas Bols recipe, its smooth, subtle, malty flavor comes from using over 50% malt wine, made from long-fermented rye, corn, and wheat and triple-distilled in copper pot stills. This malt wine, which is the heart of a good genever, is then infused with carefully selected botanicals and brought to 42% alcohol. This percentage was carefully chosen by their master distiller for the perfect combination of aroma and mouth-feel. The attention to detail in the genever distilling process is comparable to that of a fine single malt Scotch.
Genever can only be made in The Netherlands and a few nearby areas, since it is a protected spirit category, meaning it has a legal appellation designation, putting it on historical par with champagne, cognac, and Scottish single malt whisky.
Bols Genever is best served chilled, and can be drunk straight, on the rocks, or with a touch of water, like whiskey. It really stands out as the primary in simple, gin-forward cocktails.
Locally, you can find Bols Genever, and a myriad of other traditional spirits, at liquor stores that offer you a large selection of quality regional items for the adventurous home mixologist.