It may have been Bogart that quipped about “all the gin joints” but he probably never expected to simultaneously indulge in both a gin and a joint! With the Gin Renaissance in full force in the UK, the juniper spirit is undergoing a similar revival in its original form, Genever, and its original country, the Netherlands.
London Dry Gin, the form in which we most recognize our preferred spirit, is but a leaf on the Genever branch of the spirits tree. The word “Jenever”, or the French “Genièvre”, were simply shortened by the British to get “Gin”. It is possible that some of the first Genevers to cross the channel came from a distillery brand still in existence, The House of Bols.
Bols dates back to 1575, over 100 years before gin started to become popular in England. Today, visitors can visit the House of Bols and participate in the Cocktail & Genever Experience. A trip through history includes the Hall of Taste where visitors learn about all of Bols’ current 38 liqueurs and ends at the Mirror Bar with a Bols Genever cocktail.
You might find yourself staying in the gin joint for a while as Genever cocktails are only €6.50. And although you can’t actually spark a spliff to accompany your gin, the time spent enjoying your cocktails will also allow you the time (and perhaps the courage) to ask Bols’ mixologists if they have any plans for a hemp-infused Genever. Undoubtedly, it would be a best-seller with all of the city’s tourists.
If you’re visiting Amsterdam, be sure to check out the House of Bols as well as these Genever cocktail bar suggestions from the New York Post.