Barrel Aged Bols Genever Out in Stores Today
[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="302" caption="Barrel Aged Bols Genever bottle, signed by Master Distiller Piet Van Leijenhorst"]
A couple of weeks ago, I got to preview a lovely new liquor - the Barrel Aged version of Bols Genever
, which makes its retail debut today in select parts of the country. I've been in love with genever for a while now, but I officially joined the fan club when my talented friends Brett Martino and Hal Wolin created the Dutch (Antilles) Breakfast Martini cocktail for Midnight Brunch #1
That cocktail featured the original Bols Genever, Dolin Dry vermouth, Mathilde Creme de Pêche, The Bitter Truth celery bitters and was made even more amazing by the applewood-smoked bacon sugar rim. It may have been my favorite cocktail of the five we served that night.
If you're not familiar with genever, it's the grandpa to what we know as gin. This spirit category
is protected by an EU classification that restricts its production and the use of its name to distilleries in Holland, Belgium and a handful of other European regions. Flavor notes include hops, licorice, anise, ginger root, cinnamon and more.
In other words, genever is in a class all its own and can't properly be likened to gin or any other spirit because its taste and the way it's made are wholly unique. In cocktails, it's more comparable to a whiskey than to a gin and is best used in cocktails made with brown spirits. Bols makes the genever that's most widely known and drunk here in the states and any other one you run into stateside is simply not worth drinking. Take my word for it.
All that aside, there are some major differences between the original version (in production with the current recipe since 1820) and the Barrel Aged version. Things for cocktail geeks to note include:
- The Barrel Aged is sweeter, and its easier to distinguish the individual flavor notes. The original version is also smooth and complex, but it's more difficult to put your finger on what the flavors are.
- This is based on a different recipe for the malt wine base, and is aged for a minimum of 18 months in American oak.
- You'll want to switch up the vermouth and other modifiers you use with the Barrel Aged. Tom of Drink Away Time has some practical pointers on mixers, as well as some slight mods on the specs for classic cocktails like the Manhattan, Old Fashioned and (my favorite) the Martinez, all using the Barrel Aged.
- I prefer the original in cocktails. For those of us who aren't pro bartenders, it would be easy to either bury the flavor of the Barrel Aged or overwhelm the cocktail. The Barrel Aged has a big, malty flavor and is just lovely on its own. Why not savor some in a rocks glass, no ice?
Barrel Aged Bols Genever is out in stores in select regions today. This is a small-batch production, and sells at $49.99 for a 1 liter bottle.
Speaking of great food and drink, check out details on my next Midnight Brunch supper club on Sept. 17. I hope you jump on the opportunity. It's not every day that you get to crash a multi-course dinner party for free.
I love sharing details about upcoming tasty trips and adventures, so you won't want to miss a bite. As always, please feel free to chat with me on Twitter, join our group on Facebook and keep up with new posts here by subscribing.