Gin is a strongly flavoured colourless spirit. The only compulsory ingredient is juniper berries. Coriander seeds, angelica root, citrus peels, cinnamon, lavender, ginger, elderberry flower and many other spices are also used. However, the predominant flavour is that of juniper berries.
Genever is a Dutch or Belgian juniper-flavoured spirit with a grainy aroma. Light yellowish oude genever has notes of grain and juniper berries, while the taste of colourless jonge genever resembles that of a grain spirit or a very light gin.
Gin and genever are commonly used in mixed drinks and as shots.
G&T, i.e. gin and tonic, has gone through a transformation during the gin boom of the recent years: for example, the drink can be served from large balloon glasses, chilled with a single ball of ice and decorated with herbs, berries or pieces of fruit. The tonic is selected to best match the gin brand used.
As shots, gins and genevers are served chilled, at 4–6°C.
The alcohol content of gin must be at least 37.5% by volume, whereas genever can be milder.
A number of small gin distilleries have entered the market in recent years.