At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

OLD GIN (OUDE GENEVER) - GOOD FOR WHAT AILS YOU

As an adolescent I discovered old-style Dutch gin, which is hard to find in the United States. Because I was in the Netherlands at the time, finding it was actually quite easy. Just open the refrigerator door, and there it is.
My mother liked a nip of genever before dinner.
Far better than a martini in any case.
It's a healthy beverage.

During the seventies Bokma put a question on everybody's lips that expressed more perfectly than any poetry the cultural fundament of civilized values, Dutch social relations, and domestic harmony:
"Schat, staat de Bokma koud?"
Darling, is the Bokma chilled?

The number of refrigerators with a cold bottle of Bokma must have been millions. Old-style gin contributes to world peace. as the founder of the venerable distillery, Freerk Klaaseszoon Bokma, realized.


STRICTLY OLD SCHOOL

Oude Genever is by law required to be fifteen percent Barley distillate. Many companies use industrial alcohol imported from Eastern Europe for their blend, modifying the taste with juniper and other botanicals, and some well-known names are famous merely because they were cheap, not because they were good.
In the past, the term "oude genever" referred to the alembic or pot still method, nowadays many "branderijen" ('burneries') utilize columnar ('patent') stills, which are more efficient and provide more precise gradations of distillate composition. As the end-product is meant to be drunk without significant aging, there is no need to produce a distillate that reacts with oak barrels; unlike Caledonian and Gaullish firewaters, purity and proportion are more important than alchemy and voodoo.
But for 'echte oude', it's still 15% barley.
Bottled at seventy six proof.
38% alcohol.

[The process of making genever is described more fully here:
GENEVER - A FINE OLD-FASHIONED FIREWATER.]

Old-style gin is not suited to the American taste. But remarkably, "Jonge Jenever" ('young gin') has proven amazingly popular. Jonge jenever usually has no trace of botanicals or barley whatsoever, and is bottled at forty percent for the United States market.
Where it is known as "vodka".
Not quite the same thing; chill it all you damned well want.
It will not, cannot, contribute to world peace.
Perfect for a yuppie martini.
Little else.


THE HOLY TRINITY

Several bar owners in the Kempen sarcastically refered to a popular combination involving Genever with the term 'Holy Trinity' ("heilige drie-eenheid"). No, it wasn't a mixed drink. Oude Genever should NEVER be maltreated by mixologists. What it turned out to be was a shot of liquor, a demi-tasse of strong coffee, and a fine cheroot.
Enjoying these three together made you religious.
Contemplative at the very least.
And philosophical.

As an adolescent I couldn't afford those as often as I would've liked. Dutch cigars are an acquired taste, much like Oude Genever, and the best were a bit expensive, often costing more than the shot of gin.
Too many trinities and my pipe-tobacco budget was shot to hell.
I would have to smoke ribbon-cut Maryland.
Instead of Balkan Sobranie.

Still, long summer evenings, a café terrace looking out over the central square, coffee and a shot, plus a bowlful of something sooty and anti-social........ best possible way of spending on hour or two after dinner.
And, remarkably, perfect while doing homework.
Teenagers should never drink martinis.
They're shockingly unwholesome.
Try straight gin instead.
It's upstanding.



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