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During World Wars I and II, it was observed that Dutch soldiers would take swigs from bottles they kept on their belts before going into battle.  The English troops noticed how these soldiers fought valiantly and without fear, and called this elixir “Dutch courage.”  The English would later attempt to reproduce this elixir and named it…Gin.

Yet true genever is distilled in pot stills from grain mash and real herbs, for greater smoothness and flavor.  Genever is the national spirit of Belgium and has been enjoyed for over 500 years. A protected product of origin like French champagne or Scotch whiskey, genever can only be produced in Belgium and the Netherlands. Since the import of genever to the U.S. was six times greater than gin in the early 1800′s, many classic gin cocktails were actually made with genever.

The Belgians drink genever ice cold. You can drink it straight, as a shot, in a flight or cocktail.  Today, Diep 9 Genever puts a modern twist on this classic spirit by infusing genever with pure fruit or all-natural cream for a fresh, smooth taste. Diep, which is Dutch for deep, refers to genever’s fascinating history. The 9 refers to the nine botanicals used to flavor Diep 9, like juniper berries, sweet orange peel, nutmeg, pepper, cinnamon and coriander.  Try these cocktails at home.

Find Diep 9 at Belgian establishments in DC like Belga Cafe, Montemartre, Bistrot Lepic, Marcel’s, Brasserie Beck, and Locolat Cafe. Or pick up a bottle at Chat’s Liquors.

½ Diep 9 Apple Genever
¼ cranberry juice
¼ champagne

Shake the first two ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled glass. Top with champagne.

¼ Diep 9 Vanilla Genever
1/8 coconut rum
1/8 hazelnut liqueur
¼ Diep 9 Chocolate Genever

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled glass.