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Genever is a spirit category that was awarded AOC status (Appellation d'Origine Controllée) in 2007. Genever's production is restricted to the Netherlands and a few local areas, the AOC qualification stipulates the minimum amount of maltwine and juniper berry that must be contained within genever.
The generver spirit is a flavor-rich distillate of three unique types of grain including corn, rye and wheat. The maltwine gives generver its smooth, malty and fresh taste that makes genever a stand-alone unique spirit. In the 19th century, genever was only one of four accepted cocktail bases worldwide, with the addition of rum, whisky and brandy.
The original collins recipe was created with the generver spirit in the 19th century. Historically, the spirit was very popular; six times the amount of genever was imported into the United States in 1880 than gin. Gin owes its origins to genever, which dates back to the 17th century when the product was introduced to the English in Britain. English distillers lacked the grain-distilling expertise to make a good maltwine, the basis of genever, and were forced to produce their own version of genever which they would then call “gin.”
Gin tends to have a more neutral alcohol with heavier juniper berry infusion.