Thirsty Thursday: Jenever


Welcome to Thirsty Thursday today we are taking a trip across the pond to Europe to learn about a beverage known as Jenever. Jenever translated means Dutch Gin in English. It is a very popular liquor in the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany. As far as I can tell the Dutch part does not mean it comes from there, but makes it a specific type of gin because it is described as tasting more like vodka.

The European Union states that it can only be called Jenever if it is made in 2 northern French Departments (also known as regions or states) and in 2 German Federal States. The drink itself is produced by distilling malt wine with added herbs such as the juniper berry. In Dutch the word juniper is translated to jeneverbes hence Jenever as the name.

Like many alcohols it’s history is a little confusing and disputed, but lets learn about it shall we. Jenever is attributed to being invented by Dutch Chemist Franciscus Sylvius de Bouve. And it was first sold by him as medicine in the 16th century. One problem with this theory is that Bouve was not born until the 17th century, so him inventing it in the 16th is pretty much impossible. There are also records showing that in 1606 it stopped being considered a medicine and that pretty much completely discredits Bouve. The National Jenevermuseum in Belgim claims it was created in Flanders in the 13th century by Professor Eric Van Schoonenberghe. There wasn’t much proof or history behind that, but it would make more sense for it to be invented at this time.

There are two types of Jenever: Old and New. This doesn’t have anything to do with it’s actual age, but instead the distilling process. New style contains more grain than malt. According to guidelines new style cannot contain more than 15% malt wine and no more than 10 grams of sugar per liter. Old style must have at least 15% malt wine and no more than 20 grams sugar per liter.

The liquor is served generally in a tulip shaped glass, poured to the brim at room temperature. It is often consumed as well in a frosted shot glass.

To try out this beverage yourself you will need to call 920.236.7777 or visit our website to set up an appointment with one of our excellent Travel Consultants!

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