If you're looking to have some alcohol-related yet still somewhat classy fun this weekend, have I got the event for you! This weekend (that is, Saturday March 16th and Sunday March 17th 2013) the Jenever Festival is being held here in Amsterdam at the Posthoornkerk, and it promises to be a hoot.
Jenever is one of those European drinks that does not get its due credit outside of Europe... or perhaps even outside of the immediate vicinity of the Netherlands. Outside of Jägermeister and Absinthe (two words that makes me feel hungover just by looking at them), it's hard to find a uniquely European hard liquor outside of the ordinary few (I'm looking at you, vodka/gin) when not in Europe, especially at bars. And this is a shame, because there is a large variety of alcoholic substances of various strengths that deserve more than just a second glance.
Jenever is one of these somewhat exotic substances. Also known as junever, genever, Jajem, and even Holland/Dutch gin, jenever (pronounced ye-NEI-ver) is a juniper-flavored strong alcoholic liquor. It is made predominantly in the Netherlands and Belgium, but also in a couple of French provinces and two federal German states. In fact, a true jenever can only legally be called that if it is brewed in one of the aforementioned regions. Jenever predates gin - in fact, gin was developed from jenever. Like many great liquors, it was originally sold as medicine in the 16th century. A century later, people were no longer drinking it for its medicinal purposes, but because they loved the flavor (and presumably the after-effects).
The biggest jenever cities are Hasselt and Liege in Belgium and Amsterdam and Schiedam in the Netherlands. The upcoming festival aims to show the different variations on the drink. Not only are there two main types of jenever brewed (young and old, or "jonge" and "oude"), but there are also many different variations and flavors among the two. Incarnations of the drink are brewed as far off as Canada by the De Kuyper Canada distillery, and in Latin America, where it is known as ginebra. The festival will include masterclasses, workshops, and of course tastings. Be sure to also catch the Dutch Open National Championship for Mixing and Cocktails with Jenever. For more information check out the festival's website.
Is it too early for a drink?
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