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Sports and Spirits

A weekly podcast that takes you into the biggest sports events of the week and what you should be drinking with them. Product reviews and ratings. Matt East and Hank Allen have a combined 30 years experience in broadcast television. We're using that experience to bring you the latest news and topics in the world of sports and to highlight some of the great spirits in the United States and abroad. It's a little sports, spirits, and travel all in one place! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to listen.
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Jul 20, 2018

Matt is back from vacation as he and Hank kick off Tales of the Cocktail. We have a great interview with Danny Ronen at 13:00 about the category of Genever. It's something that most people aren't familiar about. Great history and information here. 

Then we discuss some big trades in baseball and basketball in the last week. 

Thanks for listening! 

Today's Guest: 

Danny Ronen
Founder of DC Spirits; co-owner of the award-winning bar Academia in Austin, Texas; partner at Unlimited Liabilities; and spirits educator and trainer at Liquid Kitchen.

 

WHAT IS GENEVER?

 

Genever (pronounced juh-NEE-vuhr) is a complex spirit with a rich history. Every genever is unique, with its own recipe and flavor, and created using artisanal processes. However, by law, all genevers must:

  • contain malt spirit (made from wheat, rye, barley, maize, oat, buckwheat, and/or triticale) and juniper berry
  • be a distilled spirit made from natural ingredients (such as grains and botanicals)

ALL GENEVER

  • Amount of malt spirit: min. 1.5% of the alcohol volume
  • Amount of sugar: max. 20 grams per liter
  • Colorings: possible, but only with caramel
  • Flavorings from juniper berries and possibly other botanicals and malt spirit
  • Alcohol percentage: min. 30%

 

In addition, NEW STYLE GENEVER

  • A younger/newer style that originated more recently with a lower malt spirit content and usually more botanicals
  • Amount of malt spirit: min. 1.5% up to max. 15%
  • Amount of sugar: max. 10 grams per liter
  • Color: none
  • Alcohol percentage: min. 35%

 

In addition, OLD STYLE GENEVER

  • The old or traditional style, with a more pronounced grain flavor due to more malt spirit
  • Amount of malt spirit: min. 15% up to 100%
  • Amount of sugar: max. 20 grams per liter
  • Color: from light yellow through to darker brown (depending on ageing)
  • Alcohol percentage: min. 35%

 

Since January 15th 2008, genever (also officially known as jenever and genièvre) has had its own Protected Geographical Indication, meaning that it is geographically protected by the European Union, just like Scotch whisky and Cognac. This gave genever its own ‘appellation,’ and product that carries the name genever can now only be made in Belgium; Holland; the Nord and Pas-de-Calais departments of France; and the North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony regions of Germany.

Genever is considered one of the most versatile and interesting spirits, because:

 

  • It offers a variety of flavor that is rarely found in other distilled spirits. It can be rich in botanicals — predominantly juniper but also, for example, coriander and angelica. At the other end of the spectrum it can be full of malt and the dark aroma of years spent in wooden casks.
  • The variance in the balance of juniper, malt spirit, botanicals, distilling, and blending techniques allow an enormous diversity of flavor: from aromatic, zesty, and fresh like gin, to earthy, malty, and rich lie, whiskey.
  • Genevers have been made for more than 500 years, yet the industry remains a source of constant experimentation, and innovation.

 

Genever has existed since the middle ages and was initially used in a medicinal capacity. Later, it came into fashion for recreational usage in the Lowlands of the Netherlands, and in the 17th century became the country’s national drink.

 

In the early 19th century, the Dutch began shipping the spirit to the U.S. as there was a large population of ex-patriates living there. This coincided with the increasing popularity of cocktails, and in 1880, approximately one in four cocktails in America were made with genever. Following two world wars and Prohibition, however, though genever remained the national spirit of the Lowlands, it disappeared from the world stage.

 

Since the beginning of the 21st century classic cocktails have soared in popularity and the demand for genever has returned. The genever category is now growing once again, particularly driven by cocktail bars around the world.

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