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Hot Jenever Toddies on a Cold Winter's Day


Cold weather

Recently, I was inspired by the holiday season to make my own gluhwijn here at home. While it was pretty good, Dan really isn’t a wine drinker even when the wine is spiced and sweetened. So we set out in search of an alternative adult beverage to keep us warm on rainy nights. Enter the Hot Jenever Toddy, a drink recipe of my own creation (although its probably not that original).
About Jenever
First created in the Netherlands, Jenever is the maltwine-based predecessor to English gin. Flavored with juniper, the spirit has a sweet, botanical flavor and malty mouth-feel. When I first tried Jenever, I found it to be similar to drinking a nice Scotch; although without the smokey peat. Since its creation in the 16th century, it has been the quintessential Dutch (and Flanders) spirit. Jenever was popular worldwide in the 17th century but eventually lost popularity in favor of English gin, which is drier, cheaper, and easier to flavor. Recently its popularity has been on the rise again. Officially only Jenever made in the Netherland, Belgium, and a couple other places can be called ‘Jenever’. Everyone else just makes gin.
Although there are probably as many nuances to Jenever as there are to similar spirits (for example, scotch), there are two general varieties. Oude Jenever is made more traditionally with a greater percentage of its mash coming from maltwine and the sweeter, stronger botanical flavor that comes with it. Jonge Jenever is made with more recent methods and a lower percentage of maltwine; resulting in a spirit with a less sweet, clearer taste.
bols mirror bar

Bols Mirror Bar in their "Experience Museum"

Jenever has typically been drunk very cold and straight from a special, flared schnapps glass. The glass is filled until the liquid peaks precariously over the edge and then the drinker bends over to slurp the excess so he can lift his drink. I prefer Oude Jenever for sipping.
Jenever can also be used for cocktails. Pretty much any gin cocktail can be improved (Can you tell I don’t like gin?) by using Jenever instead. Bols (a major Amsterdam brand) in particular is really pushing their product for mixed drinks (they recommend using Jonge Jenever) and have also released a series of Jenever-based schnapps in some really crazy flavors (banana? green tea? seriously?).
My Recipe for a Hot Jenever Toddy
hot jenever toddies

Honey (left) & Sugar (right)

  • 1 1/4 oz Jonge Jenever
  • (I used “De Schout van Maastricht” brand because it said Maastricht on it.)

  • 2 oz Hot Water
  • 1 tsp Sugar or Honey
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick to garnish

Build your drink in a heat resistant glass or mug; adding the ingredients in the order above. Stir with a cinnamon stick. Enjoy! Sugar makes for a sweeter, clear toddy. Honey makes the toddy a light golden color and brings out the spice in the Jenever better.

I also submitted this recipe to Instructables (a DIY site) for their Cocktails & Mocktails contests. Please take the time to check out my submission and vote if you like it. Voting runs fromĀ  January 4th – 10th. Winners are selected based on the public vote.

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