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Bols Genever

Bols Genever


By Robert Plotkin

Super-premium Bols Genever is an exquisite spirit with lively aromatics, brilliant flavors and a velvety textured body. Widely acknowledged as the world's first white spirit, genever is the prescribed foundation in scores of classic cocktails and was popular in the U.S. until Prohibition. Reintroduced in the States in 2008, Bols Genever is significantly different in character than London dry gin and its singular attributes have made it a "must have" for every self-respecting cocktail haunt.

While new on the American market, Lucas Bols Company in Amsterdam has been making genever since 1664. The version gaining popularity here is crafted according to a recipe devised by Lucas Bols in 1820. The heart of the spirit is called "maltwine," which is triple-distilled in traditional copper pot stills from a fermented mash of rye, corn and wheat. It constitutes 50% of the finished product. The maltwine is then blended with an infusion comprised of neutral grain spirits and a proprietary mix of juniper berries, botanicals and aromatics. The finished product is bottled at 42% alcohol by volume (84 proof).

Bols Genever is an on-premise phenomenon in the making. It has crystalline clarity, a lush medium-weight body and captivating malty, floral and fresh cherry aromas. Its initial approach is cool and slightly spicy before quickly bathing the palate with a generous helping of citrus, malt and black pepper. The juniper makes an appearance during the warm lingering finish. The genever is surgically balanced with just a touch of sweetness and features an intriguing well-integrated palate. It's such an engaging spirit that even whiskey enthusiasts will be impressed with its complex, malty character.

Genever is often misconstrued as a type of Dutch gin. The fact is that gin was developed well after genever and is characteristically different. This becomes immediately apparent when you taste the two side by side. It's also worth mentioning that as a commercial entity Genever is protected in the same way that cognac and Champagne are. It can only be made in Holland and it must conform to rigid quality standards.

Mixologists are especially taken with its substantial body and breadth of flavors. Little wonder why it was showcased in so many classic libations from the golden era. Bols Genever is ideally suited for use in cocktails ranging from the Martini, Gimlet and Aviation to the Clover Club, Gin Fix and Pink Lady. It is marvelous in a Tom Collins or topped with a premium tonic and lime wedge.

That the Bols name appears on the label of such an extraordinary gin should come as no surprise. Founded in 1575, the Lucas Bols Company is the oldest distiller in Holland. Nearly four and a half centuries is a sufficient length of time to have mastered the art of distillation.

Bols Genever—be prepared to be seriously impressed.


Bols Genever Recipes