I’m loving that genever’s profile is rising in the U.S. and if you haven’t tried gin’s forerunner, one of the best places to start is with Old Simon Genever from Rutte Distillery. Named for Simon Rutte, who founded the distillery in 1872, Old Simon is everything you could hope for in a spirit that offers the best of both worlds for whiskey lovers and gin aficionados. It’s nutty and grainy with lots of baking-spice botanical hints. Drink it neat or in a Martinez. After all, genever was very likely the base spirit of that nineteenth-century cocktail.
And, if you ever find yourself in the Netherlands, take a train to Dordrecht (about an hour from Amsterdam) and visit Rutte’s small distillery and turn-of-the-twentieth-century-style shop, where you can stock up on products from the Rutte portfolio.