Saveur

Genever Is the Original Juniper Spirit

A great many things disappear without a trace from our cultural memory, and had there been just a slight shift in the winds of change, we might never have forgotten about genever. After all, if it weren’t for the Netherlands’ losing New York City to the English, you could very well be reading this story in Dutch. It’s this sort of happenstance that brought the spirit into being in the first place.

By the 1500s, distillation had migrated north from the Arab world into Holland, where the process was used to produce brandy, or , meaning burnt wine. That century, as increasingly harsh winters and rising prices made using grapes impractical, Dutch distillers began turning to grain and, with the addition of juniper, created genever. Their original

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