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Bols Genever

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Bols Genever

Bols Genever

Photo Courtesy © Bols Genever

The Bottom Line

Cocktailians and mixologists are celebrating the return of genever - the original gin - in cocktails of all kinds and the re-release of Bols Genever is a welcome, and necessary, addition to the bar. Where we are familiar with the dry qualities of London Dry gins in our favorite cocktails, we can rediscover them in the sweeter style of gin's roots through this fantastic Dutch genever. Bols Genever is based on Lucas Bols' original 1820 recipe and has opened the doors for a new cocktail experience as well as giving us a taste of the past.


  • Sweet gin based on a traditional genever recipe.
  • A taste of the "original gin."
  • Great for use in a variety of classic cocktails, including those that originally called for genever.
  • If London Dry is too dry, try this genever.


  • Not as aromatic as drier gins.


  • Dutch genever from Lucas Bols' original 1820 recipe
  • Triple distilled using 50% malt wine and neutral grain spirits, infused with natural flavors
  • Imported from Holland
  • 42% alc/volume (84 proof)
  • Retails for around $38/750ml bottle
  • Bols was on the US market until Prohibition and was not available again until the summer of 2008

Guide Review - Bols Genever

As we step back into a time when sweet gin was significantly more popular than their dry counterparts, we should understand how a genever like Bols is made. The same grain alcohols and botanicals (give or take) are used in this genever as are found in a London Dry, but it is the use of a maltwine that sets genever apart. Bols' maltwine makes up 50% of the spirit and is made from triple-distilled rye, corn and wheat mash distilled in copper pot stills. By blending this sweeter distillate with the typical gin base, a sweet, smooth spirit is formed that is probably as close to the very first gin as we will ever see.

Bols Genever shines in cocktails and this is where we should focus. It has a lush profile that is sweet, but not too sweet, and when that aspect is paired with gin's required juniper the result is fascinating. It is with a genever like Bols that we should rediscover this spirit and the classic cocktails in which it originally appeared. Drinks like the Fancy Gin Cocktail, Gin Fix and Gin Daisy used genevers like this exclusively and other classics like the Pegu Club, Clover Club and Sweet City are transformed into spectacular potations with Bols. My discovery of genever through Bols has even inspired me to create the Countdown Cocktail, as it has many other mixologists with some fascinating new cocktails.

Tasting Notes:
Rich grains fill the distinct nose with sweet cherry and malt tones. Bols' palate is rich and smooth with malt and juniper vying for domination, although both are just below the silky surface. The finish has tangy grass notes and is quite poignant as it leaves a sweetness behind.

Bols Genever Cocktails:

More genever cocktails...

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