Genever Gin is made in the Netherlands. The alcohol is made from malted barley and either rye or corn. The ratio is usually 50/50.
The mash is distilled, then the alcohol reduced to 50 or 55%, then distilled again with juniper berries and flavourings. The list of possible flavourings is a shorter one than for London Dry Gins. Genever has a maltier taste than London Dry Gins owing to the higher ratio of malted barley. Because of this, it’s not as good as gin to use for a martini or for a gin and tonic: the taste won’t be as clean. In fact, it’s usually drunk on its own like a Schnapps that you quaff.
There are four styles of Genever:
- Old (“oude”): A pale straw colour, slightly sweetened;
- Young (“jonge”): Drier and cleaner;
- Moutwijn-Jenever (meaning malt-wine gin): Distilled 4 times. 46% alcohol
- Korenwijn (Koren means corn, with the word meaning “grain” wine — remember, corn even in English used to mean any kind of grain): Distilled 5 times. Aged in oak for 3 years. Pale straw colour, sold in stone jars. Served chilled.
Only “Korenwijn” is aged. In the first two styles listed above, the names don’t refer to age: the oude refers to “old-style recipe”, the “jonge” refers to new style recipe.
There are also now many fruit-flavoured Genevers on the market.