Have you ever tried gin? I mean really tried gin? To taste an authentic gin is actually to savour the history of the Low Countries on your tongue.
From jenever to gin
In the middle ages our forefathers were aware of the distilling process. In the Low Countries, which at that time covered an area equivalent to the Netherlands and Belgium today, they particularly enjoyed distilled wine, or brandywine. In order to back up claims of medicinal benets and to mask the otherwise unpalatable ‑avour, herbs were added to the distilled liquid. And the version to which the juniper berry (jeneverbes in Dutch) was added was particularly popular.
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King and Stadtholder William III sub-consciously made the drink popular in England, too. During his reign as king of England he attracted trade from the Netherlands with tax breaks. The pronunciation thus rapidly changed from ‘jenever’ to ‘ginever’ and, ultimately to the popular shorter name, gin.
In the Netherlands the Hortus botanicus (botanic garden) in Leiden was founded in 1590, ‘to teach all those studying medicine’. Some of these plants were used in 1650 as ingredients in a medicinal diuretic preparation made by professor Franciscus Sylvius. The result was a drink that could be used as a medicine for various stomach and kidney complaints. This was the beginning of genievre, what we now know as gin. Sylvius made the University of Leiden world-famous with his teachings on Iatrochemistry (or chemical medicine), and he attracted many students from many countries with his enthusiasm. The Sylvius Laboratory at the University of Leiden is named after him.
Inspired by the rich history of Dutch gin and the story of Sylvius, Koninklijke Distilleerderij Dirkzwager has further refined this recipe by using a pot-still for batch distillation. In order to capture the authentic taste we have been helped by the oldest botanic garden in the Netherlands, Hortus botanicus Leiden. The recipe includes juniper berries, lemon zest, coriander, figs and basil, plus the distillate of the leaves of tropical plants. The botanical knowledge on the ingredients, the refined recipe and the experienced distillers are your guarantee of unique character with a pure, fresh, complex palate with undertones of juniper berry, basil and coriander. The nish is characterised by citrus and cinnamon, with a slight hint of vanilla.
Leyden Gin is not only delightful pure or as a mix with tonic, but is also a good base for other classic cocktails and long drinks.