History of Geneva or Genever

Geneva is a typical Dutch drink, named after one of her ingredients, the juniperberry. This berry was distilled together with the maltwine to lengthen the flavour. Besides they used to believe that the juniperberry had healing properties. Originally geneva was considered to be rather a medicine than a stimulant. It only became popular in the 18th century.

Old and Young

We know ‘old’ and ‘young´ geneva. Most people suppose that this distinction has anything to do with the age of geneva. That’s not true. The difference is made by the preparation and recipes. Old geneva is made by the traditional method which was the only method they knew before 1900. This method consists of fermenting all types of wheat, followed by distilling this seizure three times. This product is called ´korenwijn´, or maltwine. After distilling this maltwine the fourth time with herbs and juniperberries a very delicate distilled geneva has arisen. A geneva made by the old method. A geneva which you can age on oak barrels for even 20 years, or drink straight away.

Young geneva is an industrial product which only existed after 1900. Industrial geneva doesn´t even know how a barrel looks like. The product was made by fermenting wheats (or sugarbeet) and distilling it once directly until 96% alcohol. The result was a colourless, tasteless and smellless product, which started the perdition of our Dutch geneva culture.

‘A.van Wees distillery de Ooievaar’ produces 17 types of geneva, all of them differ in composition and age.