Genever also known as Jenever, and Hollands Gin.
Jenever (also known as Genever or Jeniever), juniper-flavored and strongly alcoholic, is the traditional liquor of the Netherlands and Flanders, from which gin has evolved. Believed to have been invented by a Dutch chemist and alchemist named Sylvius de Bouve (or Franciscus Sylvius), it was first sold as a medicine in the late 16th century. In the 17th century it began to be popular for its flavor. Traditional jenever is still very popular in the Netherlands and Flanders. European Union regulations specify that only liquor made in these 2 areas can use the name jenever.
Jenever was originally produced by distilling maltwine (moutwijn in dutch) to 50% ABV. Because the alcohol didn't taste very nice due to lack of refined distilling techniques (only the pot still was available), herbs were added to enhance the flavour. The juniper berry (Jeneverbes in Dutch, which comes – in its turn - from the French Genievre) was best for that, hence the name Jenever (and the English name Gin).
There are two types of Jenever: ‘Oude’ (Old) and ‘Jonge’ (Young). This is not a matter of aging, but of distilling techniques. Around 1900 it became possible to distill an almost neutral high-graded type of alcohol in taste, independent of the origin of the spirit. A worldwide tendency for a lighter and less outspoken taste, as well as lower prices, led to blended whisky in Great Britain, and in the Netherlands to Jonge Jenever. During the Great War, lack of imported cereals and hence malt, forced the promotion of this blend. Alcohol from molasses from the beet-sugar industry was used as an alternative to grainspirit. People started using the term ‘Oude’ for the old-style Jenever and ‘Jonge’ for the new style, which contains more grain instead of malt and can even contain plain sugar-based alcohol. In modern times, the label indicates when only grain and malt are used (then it's called Graanjenever).
Jenever is usually served very cold straight from a bottle that has been kept in a freezer. Jenever glasses are also often "frosted" by having been kept very cold. Jenever is often drunk with cold lager beer as a chaser; this is sometimes referred to as a kopstoot ("headbutt").
Korenwijn is a drink very similar to the 18th century style Jenever, and is often matured for a few years in an oak cask.
Hasselt, Belgium and Schiedam, the Netherlands are famous for their jenever.
Dutch-based Bols has a successful marketing operation for oude genever in South America. In Buenos Aires, ginebra is the spirit of choice when something stronger than wine or beer is desired.
David Wondrich Says
"In the nineteenth century, Holland or genever gin was imported at a ratio of 5 or 6 gallons to every gallon of English gin. This makes perfect sense: in the days before the dominance of the dry Martini, when gin was drunk in slings, simple punches (think Collinses) or cocktails (the original kind, with bitters and sugar), the mellow, malty roundness of the "Hollands," as it was known, was preferable to the steely sharpness of a London dry gin, or even an Old Tom, which stood somewhere between the two styles."