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Genever: a well-loved spirit in the cocktail scene of fin-de-siècle New York

It may come as a surprise to many, but the use of genever in the American cocktail scene at the end of the 19th century was quite popular.

While not as well-known today, this classic drink was a favorite among the hip and fashionable crowds of the time.

Genever, a gin-like spirit, originated in the Netherlands. When it first arrived on American shores, many were hesitant to try this new drink. However, as word of its popularity spread, bartenders across the country began incorporating it into their cocktail menus, creating new drinks specifically designed to showcase the spirit’s unique flavors. Genever was the perfect drink for those looking for something new and exciting. It had a unique flavor that set it apart from other spirits, with a blend of botanicals and spices that gave it a distinct character. Some bartenders even created new drinks specifically designed to showcase the spirit’s unique flavors.

One of the most famous genever cocktails of the time was the Holland House cocktail (which was very similar to the Turf Club Cocktail). This delicious drink combined genever with sweet vermouth, maraschino liqueur, and orange bitters to create a perfectly balanced and flavorful drink. The origin of the Holland House cocktail is unclear, but some sources credit the drink to Hugo Ensslin, who was a bartender at the Hotel Wallick in New York City. Others suggest that the drink was named after the Holland House hotel, a historic hotel located in London, England. Regardless of its origins, the Holland House cocktail quickly became a popular drink among both regular patrons and celebrities of the time. It was a favorite of the famed writer and humorist Mark Twain, who reportedly enjoyed the drink during his visits to the Hotel Wallick.

Another popular genever cocktail was the Bijou, a drink that combined the spirit with sweet vermouth, green Chartreuse, and orange bitters. The ingredients are then stirred with ice and strained into a chilled cocktail glass. The resulting drink is a perfectly balanced and flavorful cocktail that showcases the unique qualities of genever. This drink was particularly popular among the fashionable crowds of New York City. The writer O. Henry liked to sip his Bijou at the Waldorf-Astoria.

While the use of genever is less common today, its popularity in the late 19th century shows that its unique qualities have been appreciated for a very long time. Genever’s distinct flavor and versatility make it a perfect spirit for creating a wide variety of delicious and refreshing cocktails. So why not try using Eden Genever in your next cocktail creation? It may just become your new favorite ingredient.