What do you mix with jenever?

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What do you mix with jenever?



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Jenever, the Dutch ancestor to gin, is a spirit with a rich history and a complex flavor profile. Known for its distinctive juniper flavor and a unique combination of botanicals, jenever is a versatile base for crafting a variety of cocktails. In this exploration of the art of jenever mixology, we delve into the fascinating world of pairings, discovering what complements and enhances the nuanced taste of this traditional Dutch spirit.

Understanding Jenever

Before delving into the world of jenever mixology, it’s essential to understand the spirit itself. Jenever, also known as genever, geneva, or Dutch gin, dates back to the 16th century in the Netherlands. Distilled from malt wine and flavored with juniper and other botanicals, jenever has a maltier and more full-bodied taste compared to its modern counterpart, gin.

The traditional jenever categories include jonge (young) and oude (old), with jonge being lighter and more neutral, while oude exhibits a richer and more pronounced malt character. Each type provides a distinct canvas for mixologists to create unique and flavorful concoctions.

Classic Jenever Cocktails

Before we explore innovative jenever pairings, let’s revisit some classic jenever cocktails that have stood the test of time.

The Dutch Mule:

2 oz jenever
4 oz ginger beer
0.5 oz fresh lime juice
Garnish: Lime wedge
Method: Build the ingredients over ice in a copper mug. Stir gently and garnish with a lime wedge.

Martinez with a Dutch Twist:

2 oz oude jenever
1 oz sweet vermouth
0.25 oz maraschino liqueur
2 dashes orange bitters
Garnish: Orange peel

Method: Stir the ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled glass. Express the orange peel over the drink and use it as a garnish.

Now, let’s move beyond the classics and explore the myriad possibilities for jenever mixing.

Exploring Jenever Pairings

Citrus Elegance: Jenever and Grapefruit:

The bright and zesty notes of grapefruit complement the juniper-forward character of jenever. Mix 2 oz of jonge jenever with 1 oz of fresh grapefruit juice, 0.75 oz of simple syrup, and a splash of soda water. Garnish with a grapefruit twist for a refreshing and sophisticated cocktail.

Herbal Harmony: Jenever and Basil:

The aromatic and slightly peppery flavor of fresh basil can elevate the herbal complexity of jenever. Muddle a few basil leaves in a shaker, add 2 oz of oude jenever, 0.75 oz of elderflower liqueur, and 0.5 oz of fresh lemon juice. Shake well, strain into a glass, and garnish with a basil sprig.

Spice Infusion: Jenever and Cinnamon:

Embrace the warm and spicy notes of cinnamon to create a comforting jenever cocktail. In a mixing glass, combine 2 oz of jonge jenever, 1 oz of cinnamon-infused simple syrup, and a dash of orange bitters. Stir with ice, strain into a rocks glass, and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Tropical Temptation: Jenever and Pineapple:

Transport your taste buds to the tropics by pairing jenever with the sweet and tangy flavors of pineapple. Mix 2 oz of oude jenever with 1 oz of fresh pineapple juice, 0.5 oz of coconut cream, and a dash of Angostura bitters. Shake well, strain into a tiki mug, and garnish with a pineapple leaf.

Earthy Elixir: Jenever and Sage:

Sage’s earthy and savory notes can complement the maltiness of jenever. In a shaker, combine 2 oz of jonge jenever, 0.75 oz of honey syrup, 0.5 oz of fresh lime juice, and a few fresh sage leaves. Shake vigorously, strain into a coupe glass, and garnish with a sage leaf.

Experimenting with Infusions

One of the joys of jenever mixology is experimenting with infusions. Create your own signature jenever by infusing it with unique botanicals, fruits, or spices. For example:

Citrus Burst:

Infuse jonge jenever with orange peels, lemon peels, and a touch of cardamom for a citrusy and aromatic twist.

Berries and Herbs:

Combine oude jenever with fresh raspberries, blackberries, and a handful of thyme sprigs for a delightful infusion with a hint of sweetness and herbal complexity.

Vanilla Spice:

Infuse jenever with vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks, and a touch of star anise for a warm and comforting flavor profile.

These homemade infusions can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or incorporated into your favorite jenever cocktails.

Jenever, with its rich history and diverse flavor profile, offers a world of possibilities for mixologists and cocktail enthusiasts. From classic recipes to innovative pairings and personalized infusions, the art of jenever mixology invites exploration and creativity. Whether you prefer the juniper-forward notes of jonge jenever or the robust maltiness of oude jenever, there’s a perfect pairing waiting to be discovered. So, gather your ingredients, unleash your creativity, and embark on a flavorful journey into the fascinating realm of jenever mixology.

Elevating Jenever Mixology: Crafting Signature Cocktails

As we continue our exploration of jenever mixology, let’s delve into the art of crafting signature cocktails that showcase the versatility of this Dutch spirit. Whether you’re a seasoned mixologist or a home bartender, these recipes are designed to inspire and elevate your jenever experience.

  1. Smoked Maple Old Fashioned:
    2 oz oude jenever
    0.5 oz maple syrup
    2 dashes Angostura bitters
    Orange peel (for garnish)

In a mixing glass, combine jenever, maple syrup, and bitters.

Add ice and stir until well-chilled.

Strain the mixture into a rocks glass over a large ice cube.

Express the oils from an orange peel over the drink and use it as a garnish.


The smokiness of oude jenever pairs beautifully with the rich sweetness of maple, creating a sophisticated twist on the classic Old Fashioned.

  1. Jenever Collins with a Herbal Twist:
    2 oz jonge jenever
    1 oz fresh lemon juice
    0.75 oz simple syrup
    4-6 fresh mint leaves
    Soda water

In a shaker, muddle mint leaves with simple syrup.
Add jenever and lemon juice to the shaker, then fill with ice.
Shake well and strain into a Collins glass filled with ice.
Top with soda water and garnish with a mint sprig.
The herbal freshness of mint complements the clean, neutral profile of jonge jenever in this effervescent and revitalizing cocktail.

  1. Blackberry Sage Fizz:
    2 oz infused blackberry and sage oude jenever
    0.75 oz simple syrup
    0.5 oz fresh lime juice
    Club soda
    Blackberries and sage leaves (for garnish)

In a shaker, combine infused jenever, simple syrup, and lime juice.
Shake well and strain into a highball glass filled with ice.
Top with club soda and gently stir.
Garnish with blackberries and a sage leaf.
Experiment with your own blackberry and sage-infused oude jenever for a uniquely vibrant and aromatic cocktail experience.

  1. Jenever Negroni:
    1 oz oude jenever
    1 oz sweet vermouth
    1 oz Campari
    Orange twist (for garnish)

Fill a mixing glass with ice and add jenever, sweet vermouth, and Campari.
Stir well until chilled and strain into a rocks glass over a large ice cube.
Garnish with a twist of orange peel.
The malty depth of oude jenever adds a unique dimension to the classic Negroni, making it a must-try for aficionados of bold and balanced cocktails.

  1. Jenever Sour with Lavender Honey:
    2 oz jonge jenever
    0.75 oz lavender honey syrup
    0.75 oz fresh lemon juice
    Egg white
    Dried lavender (for garnish)

Dry shake (shake without ice) the egg white in a shaker to emulsify.

Add jenever, lavender honey syrup, and lemon juice to the shaker.

Shake well with ice and strain into a chilled coupe glass.

Garnish with a sprinkle of dried lavender.


The floral and herbal notes of lavender honey elevate the classic Jenever Sour into a fragrant and visually stunning creation.

Embracing Jenever’s Artistry

In the world of spirits and mixology, jenever stands out as a canvas for creativity and experimentation. Whether you’re drawn to the bold and malty oude or the crisp and neutral jonge, the key to mastering jenever mixology lies in understanding its nuances and embracing the artistry of crafting unique and flavorful cocktails.

As you embark on your jenever mixology journey, don’t be afraid to push boundaries, explore unconventional pairings, and create your own signature concoctions. The beauty of jenever lies in its adaptability, making it an exciting spirit for both classic cocktail enthusiasts and those seeking new and innovative flavor experiences.

So, gather your ingredients, raise your glass, and toast to the rich history and vibrant future of jenever mixology. May your creations be as diverse and delightful as the spirit that inspires them.


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