Monday, October 17, 2016

Genever

When it comes to adult beverages, it's not just about the beer in Amsterdam. Genever (pronounced yuh-NAY-ver) is also known as Dutch gin. It's origins are not completely known, but it goes back to at least the Dutch golden age in the 1600s. Genever is a distilled liquor, similar to unaged whiskey, and like whiskey can be mixed or sipped on its own. On my list of "must do while in Amsterdam" was a genever tasting. A few establishments that specialized in jenever turned up on several websites. I ended up at De Admiraal. It wasn't too far from the apartment and had good reviews from previous visitors.

Walking into the tasting room was like taking a step back in time. The place is lined with dark wood and the light is dim. Most of the light coming in was through the open door, which led to a small seating area next to the sidewalk. I sat inside at a small table.

The tasting was of four different genevers although all came from one distillery, A.van Wees distilleerderij de Ooievaar. According to the bartender it's the last distillery in Amsterdam. The tasting room was a distillery in a former life but was turned into a tasting room in the 1970s.

I had two jonge and two oude genevers. The names, "young" and "old" don't refer to the actual age of the liquor but to how it was made and its ingredients. The jonge liquors were lighter and it was easy to envision them as the base for a mixed cocktail. The oude drinks were made for sipping. They had a richer, fuller flavor that was a little peaty, with a very full mouthfeel. I could have had a couple more. But I had biked over so it wouldn't do to drive and bike. I did have canals to navigate.