I'm enthralled by liquors for more than just the obvious buzz. We all drink for very personal reasons. Some of mine are the discovery of new flavors and the exemplification of terroir or taste of the place.
Genever aka: Jenever Gin represents a specific AOC. You cannot make this specific style of Genever outside of the Belgium and Holland areas because it is, like Champagne, Cognac, and Cachaca, all specific alcoholic products and methods of distillation protected by law.
Genever has a colorful history that dates back nearly five hundred years. Yes it is made from grain and yes it has juniper berries in it. What makes Genever unique is the addition of a series of botanicals and herbs. These potent healing ingredients made Genever a trusted medicinal for more than just mere alcoholic refreshment. The ingredients are according to the Diep9 website:
Blessed thistle is a bitter thistle-like plant native to the Mediterranean region, where historically it was used to treat digestive complaints, fever and headache. Carob, also known as St. John's bread, comes from the edible seed pod of the carob tree, which grows near the Mediterranean. Crushed carob pods are frequently ground into a cocoa substitute. Carob is naturally sweeter than cocoa, yet has only one-third the calories, is virtually fat-free, is rich in pectin and protein. Carob is believed to be an aphrodisiac and singers formerly chewed the pod husks in the belief that this clears the throat and voice. Nutmeg is the seed of the nutmeg tree native, which grows in Indonesia. It has a nutty, warm and slightly sweet flavor and was an expensive luxury in medieval Europe, where it was believed to have magical powers. The ancient Greeks and Romans used it as a brain tonic. Today nutmeg is thought to stimulate the brain, relieve stress and inspire dreams. Pepper has been used as a spice in India since prehistoric times for both its flavor and as a medicine where it is believed to stimulate the taste buds and alert the stomach to increase hydrochloric acid secretion, thereby improving digestion. It's a natural antioxidant with antibacterial properties. The outer layer of the peppercorn is said to stimulate the breakdown of fat cells, keeping you slim while giving you energy to burn. Angelica root (also known as Holy Ghost root) grows wild in Scandinavia and is frequently used to sweeten liqueurs. In folklore, Angelica root it is widely thought to be a powerful guardian and healer that provides strength to women. The Angelica root is often used to ward off evil and bring good luck in health and family matters. Cinnamon comes from the brown bark of the Cinnamon tree, native to Sri Lanka. One of the world's oldest spices, it was once so highly treasured that it was considered more precious than gold. With a fragrant, sweet and warm taste, it also inhibits bacterial growth and food spoilage, making it a natural food preservative. Coriander grows wild over a wide area of the Near East and southern Europe. The seeds have a lemony citrus flavor when crushed. It is described as warm, nutty, spicy, and orange-flavored. Coriander seeds contain antioxidants and have a health-supporting reputation that is high on the list of the healing spices. In parts of Europe, coriander has traditionally been referred to as an "anti-diabetic" plant. In parts of India, it has traditionally been used for its anti-inflammatory properties. Ripened oranges are scraped to collect the flavorful peel, or zest, which is loaded with Vitamin C. Sweet orange peel is a source of pectin, a protein believed to help lower cholesterol. Its strong aroma and taste make it a common ingredient in both food and drink recipes. And of course- Genever (jenever in Dutch) gets its name from the juniper berry, which grows on coniferous trees. Juniper berries have long been a coveted spice, imparting a sharp, clear flavor. The ancient Greeks were the first to explore the medicinal qualities of juniper berries, which are said to range from appetite suppressant to stamina booster. Today they are widely used as a spice to flavor foods, especially in northern Europe.
There are flavors in Genever that are gin-like, but that is where the similarity ends. Genever comes in several forms. Flavored- usually with natural fruits or chocolate. The Diep9 product uses Callebaut for the chocolate Genever. It's magnificent stuff, packed full of chocolate goodness- woven around the heat of the Genever.
The vanilla when mixed with the chocolate is so far out that I cannot even explain to you how luscious it feels caressing my tongue. This is potent, silky and attractive liquor. It deserves a place in your fridge. Why the fridge? Because the products are not full of preservatives. They need to be cared for like a ripe piece of fruit.
I'm especially fond of the Oude Genever. In the glass the aromatics are soft, almost pillowy against the palate. The first hit is from the oranges, the next may be cinnamon, followed closely by the carob- then whisps of white whiskey across the top of my mouth. Oude (aka: old) Genever is aged in wood for a specific period of time. The old genever is my favorite right out of the gate. I poured a healthy splash into a Baccarat Harmonie crystal rocks glass with nothing more than air to keep it company. The nose is pure and creamy as it takes your palate places that it has never been prior.
Sure there are other Genever brands on the market. But they pale in comparison to the luscious quality of the Diep9.
Again from the website:
Diep9® old genever is double distilled in a traditional copper pot still according to 16th century distilling techniques from rye, wheat, malted barley and nine botanicals. Barrel-aged in French oak* for two years, this bright golden-colored genever exhibits a smooth taste with malty, earthy flavors. Presented in an original and handcrafted clay genever bottle that can still be found in old shipwrecks today. 35% Alc. by Vol. Distilled & bottled by hand at Stokerij De Moor in Aalst, Belgium. Sip neat, on the rocks, or substitute for whiskey in your favorite cocktail. SILVER MEDAL WINNER at the 2012 Beverage testing institute. *Toasted Limousine oak barrels came from the Bordeaux region and used to age a Pomerol for 18 months and a Saint-Emilion from the same owner for 12-15 months.
I'm lucky to have the opportunity to taste this highly expressive spirit. It certainly puts my dreams into the context of flavor-driven and unlike anything I've tasted prior. I beg that you seek a bottle of Diep9. They are doing a historically correct version of our original gin. When you build a cocktail using what I consider to be the best old gin in America, it connects you through to the past.
The Oude is really marvelous stuff. I'm a big fan! You have to enjoy the Oude in a cocktail like this one. Potent, aromatic and very stimulating, it will catch you unaware, so be cautious. Danger Level 5 out of 5!
De Klinge Fizz
2 oz. Diep9 Oude Genever
.50 oz Tenneyson Absinthe
.25 Royal Rose Simple Syrup of Saffron (available soon!)
5 Drops of Bitter End Thai Bitters
2 oz. Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water (Lime)
2 oz. Grilled Orange Juice - Slice oranges into thick rounds and either sear or grill over wood until just charred, cool, then juice
To a Boston shaker filled 1/2 with ice add:
The Tenneyson Absinthe
The Royal Rose Syrup
Shake for twenty seconds
Strain into a tall rocks glass with several MAVEA "Inspired Water" ice cubes
Top with the Perrier Sparkling Water
Drop exactly FIVE drops of the Bitter End Thai Bitters over the top
Cheers and enjoy!
Thank you to Véronique Beittel and Kristina De Armas-Privitera for your kindness and for sharing with me your valuable time.