Genever is one of the most coveted spirits in American craft cocktailscene

It seems that our national spirit is slowly gaining a great deal of (re)appreciation in the States. Every self respecting cocktailbar in America is dusting off that specially reserved place on the backbar for the Queen Mum of all gins. In fact they want it so much that they are starting to make their own.

It is not surprising that this beautifully rich and malty spirit is getting more and more attention in the US, after all they imported 6 times more genever than gin in the 19th century. Famous barchaeologist David Wondrich tells us that London Dry style gins weren’t distributed in the States before the 1890’s. Which leads us to the safe conclusion that every gin recipe in the glorious 1862 edition of Jerry Thomas’s cocktailbible was made with either Genever or Old Tom Gin. In the 1887 revision of Thomas’s book the gin types are specified with the recipes: 8 call for Old Tom and no less than 12 ask for “Holland Gin” or “Dutch Gin”, which is the very practical American way to pronounce “Genever”.

Filliers Vintage 1990 Genever
Filliers Vintage 1990 Genever

Why so much Genever, you ask? Well it has been a very (if not the most) popular tipple in Europe for centuries and also, if you remember, ‘Old New York’ was once called ‘New Amsterdam’. No need to explain that the Dutch colonists and sailors of the VOIC (Dutch East India Company) brought with them their precious Genever. And the sweet mother of gins became part of Manhattan’s imbibing culture up untill the 1890’s.

Bols Corenwyn
Bols Corenwyn

So what we see today is kind of a REdiscovery. And it needn’t not to baffle us, considering contemporary cocktailrenaissance happening globally for the last 15 years. Where cocktailians, bartenders and barchaeologists are passionately dedicated to rediscover anything ancient and old, but definitely booze related. So it is not quite unlogical that after gin they start to glance curiously at Gin’s old progenitor.

One of 2 Belgian imported Genevers in The States
One of 2 Belgian imported Genevers in The States

And some of them didn’t leave it to curious glances, but gladly jumped into the haystack with the Queen Mum Of All Gins. Loving her so well that they are starting to make their own. A fact which we preceive as a little dash, since we did our damnest best to protect our Genever i.e. with an AOC and lots of laws (in very short: it is forbidden to produce – or at least call it genever – outside of Belgium and The Netherlands). We are starting to doubt the use of an AOC if you can bypass it easily by calling it “Genever Style Gin”, or “Geneva Gin”, but it’s indeed probably cheaper to make your own. Although in The Netherlands and Belgium Genever is cheaper than most gins…


Genevieve - American Geneva from the people who also make Junipero Gin
Genevieve – American Geneva from the people who also make Junipero Gin

Anyway, here are two of our favourite Genever based cocktails:

The Dirk Martinez

The Dirk Martinez
The Dirk Martinez

Named after the Humanist philosopher Dirk Martens – personal friend of Erasmus and Thomas Moore –  who introduced ‘printing’ in the Low Countries. Also the name of a very fine Genever from my hometown.

  • 6cl Dirk Martens Korenwijn Genever
  • 3cl Red Vermouth (Carpano Antica Formula)
  • 1 or 2 dashes of Orange Bitters
  • 1cl Luxardo Maraschino

Stirr over ice and strain into pre-chilled antique champagne coupe, garnish with orange zest.

The Malty Contessa

Basically a Genever Negroni, but instead of it being the famous Count Negroni’s favourite tipple, it became the Malty Contessa.

  • 3cl Genever
  • 3cl Red Vermouth
  • 3cl Campari

Build up over ice in a rock’s glass, garnish with orange or lemon zest.

And we leave you to your booziness with the following:

In our own opinion when you would compare every modern crafted London Dry to this: 

Fast, slick and seldom used to its full potential

Then Genever is more like this 

Old, slow, blows everything away and has become a museum now, but who knows… maybe they take her out for a ride some time.




One Comment Add yours

  1. Interesting readd

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