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Old or young? It's all about history

Fleur Kruyt of Van Kleef

Jenever has seen something of a resurgence in bars – and wider cocktail usage – in recent years, and not just in the Netherlands. But should you choose an old jenever or a young jenever? Well, that depends on the taste you enjoy because the young or old designation has nothing to do with ageing but has everything to do with the historical production methods.

Old jenever is made from malt wine, which back in the day could only practically be distilled to 80% ABV (alcohol by volume) meaning that a lot of the grain taste – and a golden colour – is left in the liquor. This gives it a slightly sweet and smoky flavour.

Young jenever is produced from grain spirit, which was only made possible in the early 1800s with the invention of the column still (also known as a continuous still, patent still or Coffey still). A column still can distill to around 95-96% ABV meaning the taste of the grain is removed, creating a clear, neutral tasting spirit.

In addition to the grain spirit, jenever is flavoured – like gin – with various botanicals including juniper, from which it gets its name with ‘jeneverbes’ being the Dutch word for juniper berries.

Enjoy old jenever with a premium mixer – its a flavoursome alternative to a G&T.

Visit Van Kleef – Den Haag’s oldest distillery – for a comprehensive range of authentic spirits and liqueurs including jenever and Korenwijn.


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