Over the last few years, Genever has gained a lot of popularity as a base spirit in Mixology bars. We take a look at how Genever is related to current day gin and how to create cocktails using this unique spirit.

Oude or Jonge Genever, and why so many vowels?

An Overview:

Genever is a predecessor to the style of gin that we know as London Dry Gin. Traditionally the base of Genever had a high percentage of Malt Wine (15%-50%), resulting in a spirit that had similar weight on the palate and malty notes like whiskey, and an herbal component that is common with gin. This is the style of Genever that we know as Oude or Old, meaning that it is made in the old style.

A newer style of Genever is called Jonge, or young in which there is a much lower malt wine content (up to 15%) which results in a much lighter style of Genever. With both styles, Oude and Jonge, the spirits can contain sugar, adding to the richness and weight on the palate. Juniper still plays a dominate role in Genever as well as other botanicals and citrus.

The most well known gins are known as London Dry style gins. Tanqueray, Beefeater and Bombay would all fall into the category of London Dry Gin. These gins start off as a neutral alcohol that has been flavored with botanicals which results in a very dry style of gin that can be extremely aromatic with juniper being the dominate flavor.

Taste Test:

1. Bokma Gran Genever – Young Genever

This Genever has little to no color to it like a London Dry Gin or Vodka. The taste is creamy, almost buttery and nutty, with a hint of Juniper and citrus to it. The alcohol content is low (35%) when compared to other styles of gin (40%-47%) which makes it very easy to sip. This style of Genever would be easy to substitute into Gin cocktails or Vodka drinks.

2. BOLS Genever – Old Genever

This style of Genever has a much higher malt content than the jonge, and is immediately noticeable in the aroma of the spirit. There is a golden straw color to the spirit and smell that reminds me of pineapple. This Genever also has a subtle Juniper component to it, and a flavor that reminds me of Pineapple upside down cake. This spirit is much heavier on the palate than the Jonge Genever and I could see this working well as a sipping Genever, or as a replacement for a light whiskey or heavier style gin in cocktails. Once again at a much lower alcohol percentage of 35% this Genever is very easy to enjoy on its own.

Try adding either style of Genever into some of the old Pre-Prohibition style drinks that are enjoying renewed popularity.

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Chris Tunstall

Co-Founder of A Bar Above and career bartender and mixologist. I love experimenting, creating cocktails, and drinking Green Chartreuse.