Articles Tagged: Genever

Gin Reviews

Filliers Oude Graanjenever (5 years)

Filliers Oude Graanjenever

We are a gin blog. But to neglect Genever is like forgetting to call your parents on their birthdays. Its gin’s predecessor, the ancestral spirit from which modern day gin evolved.

What is Genever (quickly, in <100 words)

Genever is graded on a scale from jonge, to oude, all the way up to korenwijn by  how much of the spirit is made up of malt wine and how much sweetening is legally allowed. In addition to sugars, distillers add botanicals (juniper chiefly) to create the drink’s unique flavor. Genever highlights the base spirit’s character and its primary flavor generally comes from that rather than the botanical mix.

About Filliers Oude Graanjenever (in <100 words)

Firstly, if a product bears the name graanjenever, it must have been distilled in Belgium, the Netherlands, or a couple small parts of Germany of France. The term is protected as a name based appellation. It also means that a spirit is distilled from only malt and grain. Secondly, this is an oude style of genever, which means that it contains at least 15% malt wine (think literally a distilled beer, about 100+ proof) by volume. Its been aged for 5 years in American Oak, but that fact has nothing to do with the word Oude.

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Gin Reviews

Sylvius Gin

Sylvius Gin Bottle

This is the first of what will be a new type of Gin Review here on the Gin is In. Impressions are abbreviated gin reviews for when we don’t always have a full size bottle to put it through our rigorous battery of cocktail tests. We’ll take these reviews as far as the samples allow us, but often they might only contain some tasting notes and some general thoughts. We’ll still score the gins, but the number can be raised or lowered based on the score we give it after trying a full bottle.

Sound good? Let’s get into the gin.

In < 100 Words

Dr. Franciscus Sylvius was, in an oft-repeated, and just as oft-debunked, narrative the person who invented gin. He did his work in the 17th century, at least a couple centuries after the first juniper berries were distilled with a grain spirit. Doesn’t matter, we won’t hold it against this gin which bears his name.

Distilled at the Onder de Boompjes Distillery in the Netherlands, the gin draws its inspiration from Justus Walup’s considerable expertise in Genever and malt-wine. The base spirit is wheat, but the overall flavor profile is botanical driven rather than base-driven.

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What to Drink for? Repeal Day

On December 5th 1933, the United States of America said “my bad,” and announced that Prohibition of alcohol was over.

In our humble opinion, this is quite a good thing. One can safely say that all of these great American gins which are just making their way to the market would not exist if not for the 21st amendment. Secondly, your humble narrator would likely be rake, a scoundrel of sorts, probing the seedy underbelly of modern New York in search of libations; writing under a pseudonym, sipping gin only by candlelight and then pulling up a dark hood on my jacket, ingesting a single breath mint, and wandering back home in the hopes of passing by unnoticed.

Okay, so here you are. What should you drink to commemorate this momentous occasion? Surely a look to our forebearers in the time known as B.P [Before-prohibition] we can find some cocktails.

So let me dust off a musty copy of Tim Daly’s Bartender Encyclopedia. Let’s drink like its 1903:

Where to start with this one? Firstly, Maple Gin doesn’t exist anymore. Made once long ago by the Buffalo Distilling Company in Buffalo, New York, you won’t be able to find this on the shelf.

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Gin Reviews

Corsair Genever


There’s a whole lot of gins experimenting with Genever-style warm wheat bases, but surprisingly few craft distillers outright experimenting with Genever.

There’s probably an element of business logic in there. Gin is a hard sale to some as it is, but at least people know what to do with it what they get it: whether that’s Tonic, Martini, or even Gin and Juice. But Genever?

Genever falls into a category of secondary spirit styles. Some of these secondary spirits have their day. Mezcal has emerged from the shadows and is now trendy and showing up at places not known for cocktail craft. Cachaça is hot and only going to get hotter. Expect the whole world to be talking it when the World Cup and Olympics hit Brazil in 2016. Some of these secondary spirits, such as Arrack or Aquavit, never quite have their day in the sun but still have their ardent supporters. Genever is in this later category. Those who know Genever, know it, and know what to do with it. And to those who don’t, it’s a hard sell. Therefore if you’re a small distiller trying to keep yourself afloat, you’re going to tie your fortunes to known and established spirits.

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Negroni week: Bols Genever

Today we have a very special “behind the bar” as part of Negroni week here at the Gin is In. Bols Genever isn’t really a gin. And generally won’t rise to the occasion when mixed like a normal gin. But the one HUGE exception (there’s a few good ones, the Corpse Reviver #2, the martini but, let me have this moment) and that is the Negroni.

It is by far my favorite “use Genever as if it were a gin” cocktail.  A good gin shines in a Negroni, but so does a good Genever. In fact, the malty, complex, almost bourbon like qualities of the Genever – in particular Bols- that make it ill suited to be mixed with tonic water, are exactly what makes the Bols Genever Negroni such a special drink. The Bols Genever makes a strong statement and can standup in this cocktail. It has an unmistakable signature which contrasts with the other two ingredients like a great dish. The Campari brings the bitter and the sour; the Vermouth brings the sweet; and the Genever brings an element of spice and heat. It perks up the cocktail and transforms it from a simple aperitif to a complex sipping drink.

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Behind the Bar with Bols Genever

The other day I reviewed Bols Genever and I compared it to whiskey due to its almost malty complexity. So I decided to put it to work with the rest of my Manhattan equipment.

Setting the Scene and the Recipe: My current supplies include a classic and reasonably priced vermouth. Currently I’m using Martini & Rossi. There’s nothing wrong with Angoustra bitters, but I love the Bitter Truth’s Orange bitters. Instead of Rye or Bourbon, I used Bols Genever. I mixed them together using the classic recipe (5 parts Genever, 2 parts vermouth and a dash of bitters).

Parting Thoughts Bols Genever held up very well in a Manhattan. I think the orange bitters worked better with the subtle hints of gin-like citrus underneath the richness. The vermouth was good, but I think a richer, and perhaps more herbal vermouth (perhaps Vya?) might have worked better. Though I can’t tell you for sure, this is a cocktail I will try again, and perhaps tinker with it. I’m thinking next time, a perfect Manhattan, which brings in the dry vermouth as well.

Author’s Note: This is technically very similar to a Martinez.

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Gin Reviews

Bols Genever

bols genever

Way back before this American Dry/London Dry business, there was Dutch Genever. and things were good. Genever is truly a throwback in gins, with Bols’ recipe going back to one created in 1820.

Genever is a legally protected name, so alike real champagne, the origins are certain. As a protected name it implies its origins in Belgium, Netherlands, or a couple provinces of Germany or France. Bols is from the Netherlands where it has operated at the center of the Dutch distilling industry since the early 17th century.

On to the drink. I’ve read many descriptions of Genever, but the one that makes the most sense to me is the comparison of Bols Genever to that of a white whiskey. It is malty, thick, and complex. That complexity is due to the combination of botanicals. Juniper is present but just another flavor. The drink is simultaneously spicy and earthy, the taste has hints of fresh pine forest (or for those of you who haven’t spent time in the woods, maybe a Christmas tree stand and nutmeg.) It feels smoky without that overwhelming dark peat flavor of scotches. This is a tough gin to review, because the closest parallels for reviewing are in the whiskey family.

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Cocktails by Consensus: The Negroni

Generally the Negroni is considered a “pre-dinner” drink. The bitters, often Campari is designed to stimulate the appetite before a meal. Apertifs and Digestifs in particular are more common in Italian culture; therefore the reputed origin of the Negroni- say Florence, Italy, somewhere around 1919?

Regardless of origin, this drink is classic; however uncommon it may be. In its most general form a Negroni consists of gin (surprise, surprise!), sweet red vermouth, and a bitters/campari. Though in theory an alternative like Cynar could be used, most cocktailians seem to agree that this is a drink for Campari.

  Source #1 Source #2 Source #3 Source #4 Gin 1 part 1 oz. 1 oz. 1.5 oz. Vemouth 1 part 3/4 oz. 1 oz. 1.5 oz. Campari 1 part 1 oz. 1 oz. 1.5 oz. Soda splash optional       Garnish slice of orange burnt orange orange twist lemon peel

Source #1 | #Source #2 | Source #3 | Source #4

Usually the joke behind the title “cocktails by consensus” is that there is no consensus. But for the Negroni- we have a nearly unanimous recipe. The 1:1:1 ratio is present in 3 of our recipes.

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