Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

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The Lush Chef
Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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Oct 27, 2011

Libation Education: Bols Barrel Aged Genever

Since I've started blogging about cooking and cocktails, it's been amazing how much I've learned in the past 6 months or so.  This endeavor began as a way for me to expand my creative boundaries and gain some knowledge in the process.  So when I got a beautiful bottle of Bols Barrel Aged Genever in the mail from their lovely publicist, I couldn't wait to try it and share the knowledge and results with my readers.

You may have seen Bols Genever on cocktail menus, and wondered what the heck it is.  Jenever or Genever is a juniper-flavored liquor made primarily from malt wine, and is actually the libation that gin originated from.  Hailing from Holland, it's a distillate made from rye, wheat and corn and is triple distilled in copper pot stills.  The unique spiced flavor comes from a blend of hops, cloves, anise, licorice, ginger and of course, juniper. Back in the olden days (Bols Genever goes all the way back to 1575), the distilling process resulted in rather unpalatable concoctions, so the herbs were added to mask the taste.  Because of the medicinal properties of juniper berries, Bols Genever was first sold as a medicine in the late 16th century.  In 2007, it was awarded AOC (Appellation d'Origine Controllée) status, so Genever can only be produced in Holland and some select neighboring areas.  

The barrel aged version I received was aged for 18 months in oak barrels form the French Limousin region.  The maturing results in a slightly sweet taste and maintains some of those young wood flavors.  I also love the way it's packaged—in grey clay jugs.  Basically, if you're looking for a twist on a whiskey cocktail, you can substitute this.  It's yummy in Manhattans and Mint Juleps, or you can sip it straight or as an aperitif.  It's a great starter liquor for those who aren't big fans of brown libations—the sweetness factor helps one ease in.