3 Rare Liquors You Don't and Should Know
Get to know some of the globe’s less celebrated spirits and try them in your favorite summer cocktail.
Hails from: Holland
Similar to: Gin
The “national spirit of Holland,” jenever is, in essence, the origin of gin, as it is derives from the same juniper plant (Jenever is Dutch for juniper). In fact, in the early 19th century, Americans imported six times more jenever than gin, and a number of classic gin cocktails were made with this strongly alcoholic liquor. Jenever and tonic, anyone?
(Jenever became phased out in the Western world when English distillers subbed out the malt wine content, which forms the base of jenever, in favor of neutral alcohol and a heavier infusion of juniper berries. With that, traditional gin was born.)
The drink still dominates the Netherlands booze market, accounting for 25 percent of all distilled spirits sold. It comes in two forms, oude (old) and jonge (young), which differ in distilling process and taste. Jonge is more neutral like vodka and best served ice cold, while oude is known for its malty flavor, similar to whisky, and is typically served at room temperature.
For a traditional spin on jenever, chase an ice-cold shot of jonge with a nice frothy lager. In Flanders, Belgium (where jenever also has national ties) the combo is known as a headbutt (kopstoot). Bottoms up!