Tropical cocktails
Before Gin, there was Genever (Jenever)


How gin is made and why it became so popular

Gin is distilled from grains and flavored with different kinds of herbs and spices, amongst which the juniper berry. Gin was the first spirit that was mass produced.

Jenever belongs to the family of the grain spirits and is the forefather of Gin. Genever first appeared in the Netherlands in the 16th century, where it was mass produced in the city of Schiedam. This Jenever drink could be produced quickly from grains, because there is no need for a ripening process, so it popularity spread to the western european countries at high speed. The Dutch Genever was later renamed to Gin en quickly triumphed in Great Britain. The distilling process was subdued to strict rules and regulations to prevent tempering with the quality. Less than a century later this resulted in the London dry Gin, the most widely known gin in the world.

During the victorian period, London city's hi-societees would visit special establishments known as Gin Palaces, where they would drink the very first cocktails.

Gin is a neutral and clear spirit, brought to taste with certain spices. Although the jenever berries, besides coriander and orange skin, are the main ingredients in all brands of gin, there is a a lot of variety in taste between the different brands, as they all use different aromatic ingredients in their (secret) recipes. Finally, the mixture of all these spices is mixed in with water to reach the desired alcohol percentage (37,5 %, these days).

There are to two methods which can be use to produce the gin: the first will take the blended alcohol and distilled that once more, while the other just ask for the aromatic ingredients to be added. As far as the taste and the quality of the Gin is concerned there is no major difference between the two methods.

Although the London dry Gin is regarded as the world standard, there are quite a few other Jenevers, particularly in the Netherlands, Belgium and the north of France. Because these Jenevers are more complex in taste and in preparation, it is better to drink them pure, especially since they are suitable to ripen in oak wood casks. In the UK there is another kind of Gin which is produced in Plymouth which is softer and sweater tasting.

Because Gin is relatively neutral in taste and widely available, it soon became the favorite spirit of most bartenders. Gin combines when a great number of other ingredients.

Martini: unceasingly dryer.

The blending of Gin and white Vermouth brought life to one of the most famous cocktails in the world. The name did not, as one might have expected, originate from the famous Italian company, but from an American bartender. But people are still not certain: some think that a certain Martini thought up the recipe in honor of billionaire John. D. Rockefeller; others think that a professional from San Francisco, Martinez Thomas, created it.

One thing is certain: the Martini cocktail has continued to become dryer over the past century. At first the parts of Gin and Vermouth were equal, nowadays people will put four times less vermouth. Some bartenders only moisturize the ice cubes with some vermouth and pour Gin over that while others will add some drop of angostura to create an every dryer mix.

Most important is to use as cold and dry as possible ice cubes. The Olive (for the purist without filling) is not mandatory, but very traditional. You can also add some drops of lemon juice, but some people would rather not have a slice of lemon in their glass.


Martini Dry

This classic demands a quick preparation, otherwise it may become too watery..

Put in a mixing glass with some ice:

8/10 Gin
2/10 Dry Vermouth

Stir with a bar spoon and pour into cocktail glasses immediately. Squeeze a few slices of limon over each glass and put another one piece in each glass. Add an olive and serve.

Singapore Sling

This soft cocktail is good for any time of the day, even after dinner, as it improves the digestive tract.

Put in a shaker that filled with 50% ice:

5/10 Gin
5/10 Cherry Brandy
juice of 1 lemon

Shake well, and serve in big tumbler glasses. Top off with soda and serve.


Martini Sweet

short drink: aperitif

Put in a mixing glass with ice cubes:

7/10 Gin
3/10 red Vermouth

Stir well and serve in cocktail glasses. Decorate with a preserved cherry.


short drink: digestif

Put in a shaker that filled with 50% ice:

6/10 Gin
2/10 Crème de Banane
2/10 white Vermouth
1 splash of cream

Stir well and serve in cocktail glasses with a preserved cherry.


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