Monday, May 23, 2011


Gin, it was once believed, held magical healing properties.  This opinion was held, of course, by the Dutch,  a people notable for building their entire civilization near the sea, but below sea level.

These were the people responsible for athletic shoes carved from blocks of wood.

Their emigrants invented Apartheid.

This is the nation whose football team dresses like this:

They are, however, also noted for their progressive tolerance to the finer vices in life.  But most notably, they invented Gin.  Sure, sure it was conceived of as less a cocktail mixer and more a miraculous cure of most modern ailments; but still, a mighty contribution to the panoply of gastronomical delights...

Actually, I have no idea whether the Dutch invented gin or not.  I just wanted to riff on the Dutch for a bit...


Whether inventors or no, the Dutch did perfect the recipe for fermenting and distilling the tar-like pungent sap of the humble juniper berry.  And any right imbiber would tell you, 200 years ago, that if your Jenever did not come from Holland, it was probably crap, if not outright toxic.

Now, what you and I call Gin today, is not what they called Gin or Jenever back in the day.  Today's gins are not actually Gin at all.  They are more closely related to vodkas, distilled, filtered and re-flavored with hints of citrus, flowers, juniper, whatever.

The old school Gin, however, tasted like tequila.  Or more precisely, tequila made from the shrubs in your front yard.  I thank sea-faring Amanda for the bottle of Jenever she brought to me from a wayward visit to Amsterdam all these many years ago.  It took a while to acquire the taste, but I mourned its absence once it was gone.

But now, what's this, tales of a gin-infuse wonderland?  A sinfully villainous Valhalla of little green bottles, marching, armed with sidecars of lime and tonic?  What witchcraft has wrought such a mystical mirage of drunken gluttony??

East coast Amy, it seems, has been busy building this liver-slaying arsenal of booze.  Sure, it's mostly Tanqueray, you might say, but what the cache lacks in quality, it more than makes up for in quantity.  And besides, it Tanqueray, not Gilbeys for godsake...

Apparently she is opening a gin store, or throwing a baby shower, or god knows what.  And after the first three or four bottles, no one is going to care what they are there for anyway.  Because, as the ancient Dutch will tell you, the is no drunk, like a Gin drunk.

Such glorious limes...

The Naked Martini
3 oz of gin
Pour into a chilled martini glass
place in the freezer for 30 minutes
garnish with an olive and serve immediately


  1. I still have a few bottles of Oude Jenever and Jonge Jenever and some 15 year cask aged Jenever from the NL. Of course my favorite gin is still my Philippine Ginebra San Miguel. You know the Philippine gin is good because Manny Pacquiao is one of their spokes people. I am not sure about my tagalog, but I think what he says in the commercials is something like, "You think I pack a punch? Try drinking this!"

  2. Your Philippines gin removes paint

  3. Dylan1:01 AM

    There was a time, many years and two apartments ago, that I swore the gin in my freezer was breeding. We kept drinking it, and it took six months to run out. Our friends just kept bringing us more. It was a glorious, if somewhat blurry, period of history.

  4. There's only two types of people I hate - the Dutch... and those who reference them.

  5. Nigel Powers9:04 AM

    There's only two things I hate in this world. People who are intolerant of other people's cultures and the Dutch.


Be compelling.

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