Genever & Jenever & Genièvre
Genever is one of those spirits that will forever be outshadowed by its simple minded globalized younger half witted nephew aka Gin.
The link is that the English anglicized the Dutch Genever into Gin, and made it into a more forward Juniper style. Ok, simple enough. Unfortunately for Genever, when describing it to someone, it inadvertently gets described as a less juniper forward spirit. Unfortunate since it makes it seem like a lighter spirit, a curiosity of the past, a predecessor of what we now drink. But Genever is so much more than that. Whereas only recently craft Gins have been becoming ever more nuanced, Genever always was; a blend of base materials, and then added flavors. It can be aged and softened and carried up and away by a myriad of different flavors nodding to the Dutch access to the world’s ingredients. It is very much its own spirit, a category unto itself. Before setting myself on this Genever expedition I was only familiar with the Bols Genever and a Belgian one I sold in the States, simply because it was being distributed.
Before I go to a new destination I usually make a google doc of places to visit, drink & eat. Online recommendations can often be a terrible resource. But if you look at a bunch of different posts and sites you can sort of crowd source a good idea of where to go. Some information is better than none.
“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” Dwight D. Eisenhower
There is something very satisfying yet also extremely disconcerting when a local tells you to visit the exact places you wrote down as a “must see”. Having a list of places to go inadvertently can leave you feeling FOMO if you missed them, or feel off track when doing something else.
Me and the squad tried the Wynand Fockink SingleBurger Bitter the day before at the extremely trendy and recently opened Restaurant, Lt. Cornelis. I immediately fell in love with this Dutch Amaro. Being an Amaro fan is like being a junkie except my hit is the next bitter I have not had yet, or better yet, heard of.
The location is a mix of a tasting room, retail & distillery. What once was a bar, due to the massive influx of tourists, is a jampacked tasting room. I mean packed. One must fight through to get to the bar like grain supply truck in war torn xyz.
The fantastic sarcasm of the Dutch permeates the experience. The tasting is cheap, and one can try the line of different Genever, varying in age, ingredients and style. If you have a sweeter tooth, they make many liqueurs that are very sweet and fantastic. I saw some mini cocktails of sorts.
Ok here I must tell whomever is willing to try Genever that they must realize the etiquette. It is served in a tulipish stemmed glass. It is then filled to a middle school science class surface tension level. From this point you must bow down and handlessly sip the liquid to safety. A fun ritual.
The retail shop has all the products at reasonable prices. The Bitter line has awesome label art and I was informed that they do not know whom the artist is. I picked up a half bottle of Hansje in de Kelder; an Apricot, Bergamot, Citrus Liqueur. “Hansel in the Basement” a colloquial term for being pregnant, this liquor would then be served when… you get the point. Viscous and Delicious. I regret not bringing back more Genever though.
Proeflokaal Wynand Fockink
Pijlsteeg 31, 1012 HH Amsterdam
Restaurant Lt. Cornelis
Voetboogstraat 13, 1012 XK Amsterdam