Made from juniper berries, grain, and molasses, jenever is essentially a Dutch variety of gin. It typically comes in jonge (young) and oude (old) varieties, which differ in their color, aroma, and malt content. Generally speaking, older jenevers have a deeper yellow color, as well as a more complex aroma and taste.
It is believed that jenever, sans Juniper berries, was originally used for medicinal purposes in the 1700s (some might argue that it still is). The berries were added to improve the taste, and apparently it worked. The Dutch started to drink jenever for pleasure and eventually began to export the spirit worldwide — nearly 4.2 million gallons by 1792!
Amsterdam is unsurprisingly known for jenever tasting, but Schiedam in the South Holland province is particularly known for its jenever-producing history.
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