I’m in the middle of studying for my last law school exams ever, and nothing hits the spot after a long day in the books like a great cocktail. I came across an interesting recipe for a Genever Old Fashioned and decided I would give it a try. I’ve written previously about the history of genever as a classic cocktail ingredient more akin to whiskey than gin. Due to the malty character of the spirit, it works exceptionally well in cocktails traditionally calling for brown liquors. In my opinion the rye Old Fashioned is a perfect cocktails, so the idea of substituting the rye for genever was indeed intriguing.
Genever Old Fashioned (via Umamimart)
1 1/2 oz Genever
1/4 oz Grand Marnier (Cointreau)
2 dashes of Angostura bitters
1 raw sugar cube (1 tsp sugar)
Place the sugar cube in the glass and pour the Angostura and Grand Marnier over it. Muddle the sugar cube until it dissolves. Add the Genever plus a couple of large pieces of ice (larger pieces keep the drink colder and melt slower). Squeeze the lemon twist over the glass to release its citrus oils; rub it around the rim and drop it in; give it a good stir, and let it sit for a minute or so before enjoying to allow the components to become better acquainted.
I used my favorite bottle of Genevieve, and substituted Cointreau for the Grand Marnier because it was what I had on hand. On my first sip I immediately missed the bite of rye in a traditional Old Fashioned. Instead, this cocktail has a smooth, creamy mouthfeel with virtually no burn. The maltyness of the genever is dominant, balanced by subtle hints of sweetness and citrus. I was actually very impressed with how well the orange flavor of the Cointreau works with the malt of the genever, much more complementary than I expected.
Still, I feel like this drink is missing something. Granted, the Old Fashioned is a simple drink, and this version does well to showcase the unique flavor of genever in a rather approachable way. But I found myself searching for that extra component with every sip – something spicy or herbal to add a small touch of complexity. Perhaps I’ve become too accustomed to enjoying my genever in a Martinez, and what I was searching for was just sweet vermouth. I think that some experimentation with the bitters used could bring the note I’m searching for while still keeping this fundamentally an Old Fashioned.
Overall, this is a tasty, simple, and approachable genever experience, but I found myself wanting just a bit more complexity.
If anyone has other recipes for a Genever Old Fashioned please share!