Friday Tastings: Bols Barrel-Aged Genever

Considering that our secular patron saint of the season sprang from Dutch parentage (here’s looking at you, Sinterklaas) it seems fitting to raise a glass of something Dutch during the final countdown to the jolly guy’s yearly visit. Traditional Genever, granddaddy of gin, was once ubiquitous in American bars (cocktail books of the day refer to it by its then common shorthand, “Hollands”). The use of distilled malt wine (a mash of rye, corn, and wheat) in Genever made for a richer, sweeter concoction than the London dry upstarts that would eventually unseat it. Pedigreed Amsterdam distiller Lucas Bols (founded in 1575) re-introduced its Genever to America in 2008, with an 1820 recipe. Now they’ve got a barrel-aged expression, created exclusively for the American market—and American whiskey drinkers. Their new Genever spends at least 18-months in French Limousin oak, producing a toasted vanilla warmth that melds appealingly with the malt-driven, juniper jamboree underneath. Unconventionally tasty on its own but priced, at $49.99, for cocktailing (try it in traditional whiskey drinks, like a New York Sour). Plus, it’s bottled in a handsome, heavy clay jug that will look befittingly festive on your table.

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