The first Mixology Monday of 2009 is hosted by The Scribe of A Mixed Dram and asks us to explore New Horizons and seek out a new ingredient or technique that we have never tried before. A good proportion of the posts here are exactly that – explorations of spirits I’ve gotten hold of or drink recipes I’ve wanted to try out – so I decided to go all out this month and visit a whole new city, in a previously unvisited country, to see what I could learn.
I joke of course, but by happy coincidence a rare work trip found me in Amsterdam this past Friday and I eagerly extended my break over the weekend to allow me to explore a city I had always wanted to visit. Amsterdam has a small but growing cocktail scene with some excellent bars like Herrie and the recently opened Door 74 and Holland is of course famous for its genevers, so I used this opportunity to explore a spirit I have had very little experience with previously.
The recently launched new Bols Genever makes for some superb cocktails, but what I really enjoyed was trying the heavily aged genevers and corenwijns that are often hard to find outside of Holland. Perhaps my favourite drink of the weekend was the Mr. Antoni, a Dutch take on the already delicious Penicillin from Sam Ross of Milk and Honey in New York. Swapping the Scotch whiskey base for the well-aged Rutte Paradyswijn genever the drink is absolutely sublime and would, as Philip Duff likes to say, “make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window”.
Unfortunately I lack almost all of the requisite ingredients to make this drink tonight, so it will have to wait for another time, and instead I’m going to tackle another drink that puts genever to good use – the Holland House Cocktail. I vaguely remember trying it a while ago with London dry gin but was understandably left unimpressed, so when I asked my bartender at Herrie for a drink of his choice and he presented me with a Holland House I wasn’t sure what I was going to make of it…
Holland House Cocktail
- 1¾ shots / 52.5 ml / 1¾ oz genever
- ¾ shot / 22.5 ml / ¾ oz dry vermouth
- ½ shot / 15 ml / ½ oz lemon juice
- ¼ shot / 7.5 ml / ¼ oz Maraschino
- Shake all ingredients with ice. Strain in to a cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon zest twist.
While with dry gin this cocktail is fairly uninspiring, with genever it is really quite nice. The new Bols Genever works very well, with its heavier maltwine profile combining beautifully with the maraschino. Refreshing yet with a complex depth, it is sort of a malty Aviation, and is a great introduction to genever. Rest assured, this won’t be the last you will see of genever here…
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