If you’re unfamiliar with genever, now is a great time to get acquainted with the spirit. You may have heard that it’s similar to gin, and while they do both contain juniper — in fact, the word genever translates to juniper — it’s probably better to think of genever as an older cousin, as it dates back to the 13th century, making it about 500 years older than the gin you’re familiar with today. Unlike gin, the spirit starts with a non-neutral base like malt before it’s infused or distilled again with a number of botanicals. It can be bottled as is after distillation or barrel aged to give it a deeper flavor.
Genever’s bold, earthy taste is great for fans of more robust spirits, but if you’re new to it, cocktails are a great way to get to know it better. Here, four bartenders mix up delicious drinks made with genever. Try them at home, and you’ll likely find a favorite new bottle for your bar.
If Bond Were a Dutchman
(Created by Derek Williams, The Dutch Ale House, Saugerties, New York City)
Genever can be infused like any other spirit to give it a more complex flavor. “This is a fun play on the Vesper Martini, showcasing the deep, malty qualities of the Bols and the herbaceous traits of the Cap Corse and Zubrowka Bison Grass vodka,” Williams says.
- 2.5 oz Burnt orange-infused Bols Genever*
- .75 oz Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka
- .75 oz L.N. Mattei Cap Corse Aperitif Blanc
- Rolled orange peel, for garnish
Method: In an ice-filled mixing glass, combine the first three ingredients and stir. Strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with a skewered orange pinwheel.
*For the bunt orange-infused genever: Take the peels of two whole oranges, and carefully char them with a kitchen torch until uniformly blackened. Add those to the genever along with the peel of one raw orange. Let sit overnight before the first use, but leave the peel in the bottle to develop the flavors deeper.
(Created by Kacie Lambert, Stay Gold, New York City)
“Captain Barnacles is a Highball spin-off of a Salty Dog that was built with Old Duff Genever in mind,” Lambert says. “The light and refreshing notes that come from our house grapefruit cordial, mixed with the smooth malted components in Old Duff, makes for a refreshing yet savory cocktail.”
- 1 oz Old Duff Genever
- 1 oz Ford’s Gin
- 1 oz house-made grapefruit cordial*
- 6 dashes saline solution
- Soda water, to top
- Grapefruit peel, for garnish
Method: Add all ingredients, save for the garnish, to a highball glass filled with ice. Top with soda water and garnish with a grapefruit peel.
*Grapefruit cordial: Mix the peels of two grapefruits in a bowl with .5 cup sugar. In a separate bowl, mix the peels of two additional grapefruits with .5 cup vodka. Let both bowls sit for one day. Combine the contents of both bowls and add the juice of four lemons. Stir for about 10 minutes and fine strain into a clean container. Will keep in the fridge for one month.
The Genger Bread Man
(Created by Dan Rook, Ever Bar, Los Angeles)
- 1 oz Bols Genever
- .75 oz Faretti Biscotti Famosi
- .25 oz Bonolli Amaro Of
- .5 oz ginger syrup
- .25 oz cinnamon syrup
- Dash of absinthe
- Gingerbread crumbs, for garnish
Method: Combine all ingredients (except gingerbread crumbs) in a shaker with ice. Shake thoroughly and strain into a glass of your choosing. Garnish with gingerbread crumbs. You can also dust the rim of the glass with fine crumbs or garnish with a whole cookie if desired.
(Created at Tinker to Evers, Chicago)
- 1.5 oz Bols Genever
- 1 oz Bigallet Thyme Liqueur
- .75 oz lemon juice
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- Lemon peel, for garnish
Method: Add all ingredients to a shaker tin with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a Nick and Nora glass. Garnish with a lemon peel.