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Genever / Dutch Gin
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All about genever / Dutch gin
What is genever?
Known by many names including jenever and genievre, genever is not quite gin or whiskey. It's the granddad of gin, which is probably why many people confuse it with gin. In fact, the British who borrowed genever from the Dutch shortened it to gen. Despite being referred to as Dutch gin, the only similarity genever has to gin is that it contains juniper. In reality, genever is more like whiskey as it's made with malt wine. The term Dutch or Netherlands gin speaks to the origin of this spirit that's been distilled there since the 1600s.
What does genever taste like?
The flavor varies since it's made from a variety of ingredients including different malt grains, sugar beets and potatoes. Jong (young) genever is similar to vodka or dry gin in that it has a more neutral flavor. Oude (old) genever has a malty, earthy and nutty flavor due to the higher malt wine content. The flavor of juniper is present just as with gin. The infusion of botanicals also influences the flavor.
How to drink genever
In the Netherlands, locals drink this versatile spirit as a shot from tulip-shaped glasses called slurpertje, then directly follow it by beer. Up for a bit of fun? Take it like the locals by filling the slurpertje until the genever rises just over the brim. Then bend over, and give it a slurp before picking it up to toss like a shot. It goes well with mixers and as an ingredient in cocktails. The jong variety works well as a replacement for vodka and gin. The oude type is a good alternative to whiskey. When drunk on its own, genever's best enjoyed at room temperature, but consider trying it on the rocks, too. It's such a versatile spirit that the right way to enjoy is the way you like it.