Before gin, there was genever. Hailing from the Netherlands, this grain spirit dates back to the 16th century. It still holds immense sway in bars across Holland, as well as Belgium and other select European countries, but it wasn’t until the late-aughts that genever found its way to U.S. soil with the launch of Bols genever.
Given its malty and herbal flavor, genever is versatile and can be worked into traditional gin cocktails like the Tom Collins, as well as classic whiskey cocktails and modern creations.
Spirits industry veteran Brian MacGregor created the Flying Dutchman when he was bartending at Jardinière in San Francisco. He enlists genever, two French liqueurs (Yellow Chartreuse and Benedictine) and lemon juice for this cocktail, which sports a complexity that belies its simple construction.
Yellow Chartreuse has been made by Carthusian Monks since 1840. The closely guarded recipe features 130 herbs, plants and flowers, and the 86-proof final product has notes of honey, citrus, anise and saffron.
Benedictine is an 80-proof cognac-based liqueur that is also made from a secret recipe. It contains 27 herbs and spices, including saffron, cinnamon, fir cones and juniper, and is then aged and finished with honey before bottling. It’s sweet, floral and herbaceous, with notes of baking spices, honey and orange peel.
You’re off to a strong start, but you’re not done yet. Fresh lemon juice tempers the sweet liqueurs with its trademark tartness, bringing balance to the cocktail. The Flying Dutchman can be shaken into existence in just a few minutes, but once the drink is in your glass, take your time exploring all the complex flavors within.
1 1/2 ounces Bols genever
3/4 ounce Benedictine
3/4 ounce yellow Chartreuse
3/4 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed
Add the genever, Benedictine, yellow Chartreuse and lemon juice into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.