Friday, October 26, 2012

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Max's (Other) Mistake — A Tropical Drink With a Genever Twist

Genever is  — or used to be — a hard sell at the Whiskey Forge where the usual hangers-on prefer American whiskeys and rum. Nothing wrong with those two, but this knee-jerk mistrust of genever bothers me because the stuff is delicious and I'm a bit bummed to the be only one who regularly reaches for it. Genever (or jenever) is a grain spirit from the Netherlands and Belgium. A few varieties are available, some even flavored with citrus, but they all are flavored with juniper, those little blue-black cannonball berries that give gin its characteristic taste. Knowing their weakness for rum I found last night a way to sneak genever into my drinking buddies' cocktails; use it in a tiki drink that calls for gin.

The result? They used almost an entire bottle of Bols genever on multiple rounds of a drink that San Francisco barman Martin Cate dubbed Max's Mistake. I admit the response to the stuff was a little more enthusiastic than I'd hoped.

The original drink uses gin, but an elision to the Dutch stuff was a natural, and tasty, move. Here's Cate explaining the drink and how its name came about on his new cocktail series for CHOW (recipe after the video):

Max's Mistake  
Martin Cate 
Smuggler's Cove, San Francisco 
1 cup of crushed ice
2 dashes of bitters
1 oz passion fruit syrup
1 oz lemon juice
0.5 oz honey syrup (a mix of equal parts honey and water)
2 oz gin [Bols genever]
2 oz sparkling lemonade
Blend 2-3 second and serve topped with ice cubes and fresh mint.

Goes well with:
  • Regular readers will recognize Cate as the mad genius behind the koi pond-sized flaming tiki punch at Tiki Oasis (pictures and scaled-down recipe here).
  • Bitterballen, little fried croquettes quite similar to Cajun boudin balls, are classic Dutch bar food, perfect for a few shots of genever, even if it is all doctored up with fruit syrups and juices. Here's my recipe
  • Americans used to have a great thirst for genever, also called Holland gin or, simply, Hollands. Here's Samuel M'Harry's 1809 recipe for making a semblance of the imported article from very local American ingredients. 
  • has both Bols genever and the barrel-aged version on sale now. This is a good deal, but shop around; liquor regularly goes on steep discount during the 4th quarter and you may be able to find even bigger discounts. 
  • Have you a glut of genever? Then consider whipping up a batch of kruidnoten liqueur, a Dutch recipe combining the spirit with...cookies. Those without so much to spare can swap vodka. 

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