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Genever: A Lesser-Known Ingredient That Will Transform Your Favorite Cocktail

Looking to elevate your cocktail game? Discover the versatile and delicious Genever, a traditional Dutch spirit that can add a unique flavor profile to your drinks. Learn about its history, how to use it in cocktails, and why it's worth experimenting with. Impress your guests with a lesser-known but delicious ingredient.

When it comes to cocktail ingredients, there are a few classics that immediately come to mind: gin, vodka, rum, tequila and whiskey, to name a few. But what about Genever? This traditional Dutch brandy is less well known than its more famous ones, but it is a delicious and versatile ingredient that can take your cocktail game to the next level.

What is Genever?

Jenever, also known as jenever, is a gin of Dutch origin. It is made from a blend of malt alcohol, distilled from malted barley, rye and corn, and neutral grain alcohol. This gives Genever a unique flavor that sits somewhere between gin and whiskey.

Jenever has a rich history dating back to the 16th century, when it was first distilled in the Dutch town of Schiedam. It quickly gained popularity throughout the Netherlands and remains a beloved spirit to this day.

How to use Genever in cocktails

Genever is a versatile ingredient that can be used in many cocktails. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Classic cocktails: Jenever is the main ingredient in classic cocktails like the Martinez and the Holland House. These cocktails are perfect for showcasing the unique flavor of Genever.
  • Modern cocktails: Mixers are always on the lookout for new and exciting ingredients to incorporate into their cocktails, and Genever is a great choice. Try using it in modern cocktails like the Dutch Mule or the Genever Sour.
  • Replace: If you’re looking to change things up in a classic cocktail recipe, try substituting Genever or whiskey with Genever. It can add a whole new dimension of flavor to your favorite drink.
  • Pairing: Genever pairs well with a wide variety of flavors, including citrus, herbs and spices. Experiment with different flavor combinations to find your perfect cocktail.

Why use Genever in cocktails?

There are several reasons why you should consider using Genever in your cocktails. First, it adds a unique flavor that is different from other spirits like gin and whiskey. It can help your cocktail stand out and impress your guests.

Second, Genever has a long and interesting history that can add a bit of history and tradition to your cocktails. It’s a great conversation starter and can help create a memorable drinking experience.

Finally, using Genever in your cocktails is a great way to experiment and try new things. Mixology is all about creativity and innovation, and Genever is a perfect ingredient for those who want to push boundaries and try something different.


Genever may be a lesser known ingredient, but it is a versatile and delicious addition to any cocktail. Whether you’re a lover of classic cocktails or love to experiment with new flavor combinations, Genever is a drink worth exploring. So next time you’re behind the bar, grab a genever and see where your creativity takes you!