Sunday, March 15, 2009

First Taste: Bols Genever

Bartenders demanded it, and Bols listened; before London and Plymouth style gins dominated the American gin scene, it was the malty and savory Genever style gin that was the essential ingredient in cocktails of the early era (like the Holland House, a lip-smacker made with Noilly Prat, maraschino and lemon juice - you figure out the formula).

Spruced up and back in the U.S. market in a modern package, today’s Bols Genever, made from corn, rye and wheat distilled in copper pot stills, is musty and malty, smelling like a rising batch of hearty northern European bread dough. In the mouth it’s creamy and smooth, with a touch of fresh biscuits and anise. To me, genever works in cocktails as a knitter, binding the other ingredients into a harmonious whole, much the way orris root does in English gins. Modern palates may not recognize the original gin but the cocktail crazed are already hard at work incorporating the Bols version in their latest creations. If you're running a serious cocktail program, you need a genever. But you know that already. And please, ladies and gents of the stick, go easy; it seems to me that whenever a quality spirit makes it way into the cocktail group conciousness, the next dozen or so "new" cocktails I'm served have way too much of the newest thing in them. (Bols Genever, by the way, is also worth trying as a simple sipper.) (Cattani Imports - no link available.)
My score: 7

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