A Stroll Down Modern Mixology’s Memory Lane
Many associate gin with the English. And, rightfully so, as they drank so much of it that the “Gin Craze” of the 1700’s became a national crisis – men, women and children were raging alcoholics! The British Navy also put gin on ships and took it to India where they guzzled it down with quinine to avoid malaria and sometimes a squeeze of lime to stave off scurvy, in the form of a drink we call the Gin & Tonic.
However, if we roll back our history clocks a few centuries, we will see that the English actually first came to gin via the Dutch. Also a world power, at the time, fighters in the Dutch military drank grain spirit infused with herbal botanicals as liquid courage (and lets face it, drinking distilled spirits meant one had less of a chance from dying due to drinking dirty water. This was before water purification systems were in place, and water-bourn diseases took many-a-soul.)
The Dutch gin was called genever, and it has been produced in Holland since the 1500’s. Many of our original classic cocktail recipes were actually created with genever. Now, Lucas Bols is making genever available to all of us around the globe. Yippee!
The heart of a true genever is maltwine, a distinctive distillate made by triple distilling a mash of rye, corn and wheat in copper pot stills at 47%, which is believed to be the optimum alcohol content for maximum flavor. Genever has even been awarded the prestigious A.O.C. status, meaning that this spirit can only be produced in Holland. Bols has even designed a traditional bottle, as seen in the photo above. Drinking this product is like taking a little sip history.
This stuff is freakin’ delicious. Smooth, herby, silky, strong. It is amazing in cocktails and seriously incredible chilled, up, with a twist of lemon and a splash of simple syrup and orange flower water stirred in. Add a thimbleful of dry (or even sweet) vermouth – and it’s the martini I hope to drink in Heaven.
Here are a couple of recipes from the Bols Genever camp:
The Holland House
1 3/4 ounces Bols Genever
3/4 ounce Noilly Prat dry vermouth
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 ounce maraschino liqueur
Shake, with large cubes of ice. Double-strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Stray and rim glass with lemon zest.
The Improved Holland Gin Cock-Tail
2 ounces Bols Genever
3 dashes rich sugar syrup (2 parts sugar / 1 part water)
2 dashes orange bitters
1 dash dry orange curacao
Stir, with large cubes of ice. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Spray and rim glass with lemon twirl, dropping it into the drink, afterwards.