The World in Liquor

Jenever – Netherlands

Even if you’ve never heard of jenever, you’ve probably already sampled its modern descendant—gin. While gin is truly poised to take over the world, not as many people have heard of jenever, which is primarily produced in the Netherlands and Belgium. It’s a base of neutral grain spirit, flavored with herbal, tart juniper berry. The two types of jenever: oude (old) and jonge (young),— reflect not the period of aging, but rather the strength of the final blend, and the amounts of grain and malt that they contain.

Cachaça – Brazil

Delicious cachaça is a Brazilian liquor made of fermented sugarcane juice—something that Brazil has in ample supply. It’s been a popular spirit in Brazil since the early 17th century.  Farmers that were growing sugarcane used the waste and byproducts from the production of sugar and molasses to make cachaça. Cheaper, unaged cachaça is mostly served in mixed drinks—most famously, it’s the base spirit for a caipirinha—while darker cachaça, that’s aged in wooden barrels for up to one year, is designed for sipping.

Vana Tallinn – Estonia

The tiny country of Estonia has their own special liqueur, that’s made from a base of rum. Vana Tallinn has a spicy, citrusy taste, and although it’s produced by an Estonian company, it can be found relatively easily all over the Baltic states. Liviko, the company that produces Vana Tallinn, has tried to create an origin story and mythology for the sweet liqueur, but it’s mostly an advertising campaign—it was first produced in 1960. In addition to their regular brand, they also offer several seasonal options which include Vana Tallinn Coffee or Vana Tallinn Chocolate Cream.

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