Before it was Gin it was Genever!
Genever (also spelled Jenever and Genievre, pronounced jen-E-fer) is the predecessor of Gin. Made from a blend of grains including malted barley, brewed into beer, distilled into malt wine, then kicked up with juniper berries and other botanicals and distilled for a third time.
Also known as Holland Gin, this liquor is served by the Dutch in small aperitif glasses - filled right up to the rim so you must sip it first without ever touching the glass.
You'll find a several references to Holland Gin in Jerry Thomas' Bartender's Guide - now you know just what he was talking about!
Here's a classic cocktail using Genever:
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