Posted on 06/07/2016 by Mistercocktail

One of the positive side-effects of the current gin trend in The Netherlands is that many local distilleries, as well as the larger ones of course, have developed a gin of their own. It may be an unknown fact, but The Netherlands used to be the leading nation in distilling spirits. Genever was the single best sold spirit in the world at the turn of the 19th century. Many classic cocktail recipes call for Dutch Gin, which is genever. World Wars and a prohibition didn’t work out very well for this spirit and it has been diminshed to a very local product that even here suffers from a huge slide in volumes and a bad image. With the rise of gins (yes, The Netherlands is a bit late to the gin-partey) this is the perfect opportunity to show the distilling skills that are still present in our little country. Over 100 local gins have been launched in the past few years, some are amazing, some should have been tested for a bit longer before releasing the final product. Of course I won’t bring you anything bad here, so I picked 4 Dutch gins that have been released recently.

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Catz Gin was launched on May 12th in Amsterdam and has been developed over the past two years by three friends who have a long combined history in spirits, having worked together for large brands since the 1980s. The gin was created together with Herman Jansen (Schiedam), one of the traditional distilleries that stood the test of time. Many, may different versions were created, not settling for anything but the best combination, resulting in a powerful gin at 48,2 % abv. Leading botanicals are bergamot peel, juniper berries, cinnamon and cayenne peppers, but more are in this gin that are not revealed. The gin opens slowly due the high abv and releases its flavours step by step. First there are notes of bergamot, juniper and coriander. After that more sweet notes: creamy vanilla, orange and cinnamon with a peppery finish.
I find the perfect serve with 6 O’Clock Tonic combined with a lemon twist for an even fresher g&t or a slice of orange for a walk on the sweeter side.

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Boomsma Dry Gin is a new kid on the block as well, as it was launched last Thursday in the Bluespoon Bar of the Andaz Hotel in Amsterdam. It is a creation by Boomsma, a company from Friesland in the north of The Netherlands. They have been around since 1883 and are quite big in the Dutch market, in the sense that they produce the best sold blended scotch and wodka for example. Recently, Saskia and Chantoine Boomsma, 5th generation, have taken over the company and they are making some changes already. A new copper still has been installed and this gin is the first new launch in their portfolio. It is based on botanicals that are usually found in Beerenburger, a typical bitter for the northern provinces and includes calamus, centaury, gentian, blessed thistle and laurel.
This gin also opens slowly being 45 % in abv and reveals a complex taste with lots of depth. Firstly there’s orange, fresh citrus and sweet spicy notes of laurel and a hint of cinnamon. The finish is long and herbal with liquorice and a hint of menthol.
My ideal serve is with Fentiman’s Tonic Water and fresh summer fruit: strawberries, blackberries, raspberries etc.

 

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Launched in April this year, we have the TX Gin, from our beautiful island Texel. A new gin, based on the old tradition of distilling left-over crop and saving it for sale or for the cold winterdays. Stokerij Texel, founded with crowdfunding by Jaco Spek and Kees Groenewoud, buys potatoes from a local farm and makes a base alcohol from them, turning it into gin with the addition of local botanicals, including elderflower and “duindoorn“. Especially the latter is a tough one to pick, as the branches of the bush have sharp thorns and the berries are placed close to the branches. Squeezing them too hard will make them pop so you have to remove them carefully with a pair of scissors. They rival juniper berries in their difficulty of being picked.
The gin is quite strong yet floral, a quite unusual combination, at 42 % abv. The start is somewhat sweet and herbal with lots of juniper, cardemom and coriander seeds. It combines the roughness of the sea with the beauty of the island. The floral notes of elderflower come through together with the mild sour-bitterness of the duindoorn, leading to a nice aftertaste.
The combination I liked most for my G&T is with Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic. The garnish is something I’m not yet sure about to be honest, so you can figure that one out yourself. This has mainly to do with the duality of the gin, which can go to the herbal side as well as the floral side, two different g&t’s.

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Distillery Rutte from Dordrecht has been around since 1872 and has mainly focussed on making genevers and liqueurs. It profiles itself as a botanical distillery and creating a gin of their own was a logical next step. Besides a dry gin, they have launched a Celery Gin which recenty picked up the nomination for the Spirited Awards in the category Best New Spirit, as well as double gold, best in class in an important competition in the U.S. This gin is based on 6 botanicals, five of them being classical gin botanicals: juniper berries, coriander seeds, angelica, cardemom and orange peel. The 6th is actually a classical genever botanical, as Celery was already used by Rutte since their early days.
The gin opens very pleasantly, with the freshness of juniper and coriander mixing well with the herbal sweetness of the celery. The gin keeps developing whilst keeping a great balance.
Rutte Celery Gin is very versatile, so many tonics can be used for the perfect serve. I went with the Schweppes Premium Orginal Tonic as it brings a classic touch to this gin. The logical garnish would be a cellery stick, or, alternatively, a slice of fresh lemon.