Tag Archives: Holland “gin”

The Spirit(s) World

Bols Genever, makers of what was called “Holland Gin” in the 1860s when a former sailer and gold-miner, Jeremiah P. Thomas, was asked by Dick & Fitzgerald, a New York publisher, to help with a book of recipes for the popular mixed drinks of the day because he was then a highly respected Manhattan bartender. The book, believed to be the very first bartenders’ guide, was “How to Mix Drinks, or the Bon Vivant’s Companion.”

Among the 200 recipes included were some cocktails created using Genever – 12 drinks that explicitly called for “Holland” gin. This recipe was one of them:

The Gin Cocktail

2 Parts Bols Genever

¼ part Simple Syrup

3 dashes of Angostura Bitters

Served over ice.

Enjoy this American Classic cocktail all these years later!


The Spirit(s) World-Bols Genever

Genever is the national spirits category in The Netherlands with a very long tradition, starting in 1642 at Bols Genever. In 1820, it introduced a new recipe which it describes as “malt wine, neutral grain alcohol and botanicals.” That recipe provided what Bols today calls “the authentic flavour of genever as it should be: complex, powerful, and delectable. In addition to being an impeccable spirit for drinking neat, it proved to be perfect for a new phenomenon in the USA -the cocktail.”

Today, there are two Genevers –  Bols Genever and Bols Genever Barrel Aged. Both are still made according to the original 1820 Lucas Bols recipe. And much like cognac, champagne and Scotch whiskey, it’s what is called a “protected spirits category.”

At http://www.bolscocktails.com, there are more than 15,000 (yes – 15,000!) cocktail recipes. It’s described by Bols as combining ‘the mixability of a white spirit with the complexity of a brown spirit.’ It has a tingly impact on the roof of the mouth, and lingers with warmth, complexity and elegance. Genever is seen as a precursor of British gins.

Recently, Bols, with Tales of the Cocktail,  launched a series  of cocktail tours in honor of Jerry Thomas, “the father of American mixology,” who, in the mid-19th century, published his collection of cocktail recipes, “How to Mix Drinks, or The Bon-Vivant’s Companion.” Genever was used in a number of the original “Holland gin” based  cocktails. The alliance includes a scholarship for one of the bartenders which one of the participating bartenders will be awarded, consisting of $5000 credit the winner can use towards Tales of the Cocktail seminars, as well as travel and lodging in New Orleans during Tales of the Cocktail in July 2017. The first of the seven cocktail tours began here in Boston Boston on December 5th and we had the great fortune to be on that bus as it went to five restaurants to taste their bartenders’ creation with Bol Genever.

We suspect that as time goes by, we will be telling you more interesting things about Bols, its cocktails, and the very talented bartenders who, today, are using it to make 21st century cocktails with this very old and delicious spirit!