I would be very interested in sampling the fruits of original gin, genever.
COMPARED with vodka, gin is a relative newcomer. But despite what the Russians might say, the history of gin — like its flavor — is far more complex.
Gin was born as genever in Holland in the 17th century. It was renamed gin when it got to England about 100 years later. Eventually, the English style, which is stronger and lacks the touch of sweetness that is typical of genever, came to dominate the market. But genever is making a comeback.
Next week Lucas Bols, a Dutch company that was founded in 1575, will start to sell its genever in the United States again. It was last imported in quantity about 50 years ago, but small amounts have seeped into the United States since then. Grain shortages in Holland during the world wars and Prohibition in the United States combined to do in the export of genever.
The Lucas Bols genever joins a few other brands of genever already on the market. Zuidam and Boomsma are imported from Holland. And earlier this year, Anchor Brewing and Distilling, the San Francisco company that makes Junipero, a dry gin, started selling Genevieve, a genever that it had developed about 10 years ago.
A side benefit to being a citizen of the 21st century is that our recent history is available for close examination. The quest for the authentic, platonic ideal is simplified, in other words. Classic, formerly obscure films are a mouse click away, popular music from around the globe is being re-released at an amazing rate, absinthe is being served at your neighborhood saloon, and now one can drink gin as Hogarth imagined it.