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Happy Hour: Bols Genever


Meet Bols Genever, a compelling new (old) liqueur that's like gin's smooth-sipping cousin. Created in Holland during the 16th century, Genever was the world's first gin. Its taste is different from any other gin on the market.

Although it's strong, I find it much more drinkable than gin. Genever lacks the usual botanical undertones, and when sipped alone, is like vodka with subtle hints of whiskey. It's made with barley malt, an ingredient left out of today's common gins.

Bols Genever has a very interesting history with the recipe dating back to 1820. If you went into a bar in the late 1800s and requested a cocktail with gin, it was made with Genever. Over time, its popularity faded.

Up until the recent launch by Bols, Genever was basically nonexistent in the United States. Now you can find the liqueur, which comes in a beautiful charcoal gray bottle, being mixed into cocktails in San Francisco and New York. For spirit enthusiasts, getting your hands on a bottle of Genever is a must.

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