How is it possible Otenba is both a gin and a genever?
Because they have lots in common! As you might know, genever is the grandfather of gin. ‘Cause when the Brits tasted the Dutch genever, they were so into that juniperiness that they decided to make their version. And that was gin. Both spirits get their characteristic flavour profile from juniper berries. But while regulations allow genever to go either all out or more low-key with juniper flavours, gin has to have that predominant bitterness of juniper berries. And while genever should always include a malted spirit, gin can. Otenba is both. Malted and junipery. When looking at botanicals, we’ve mixed herbs and spices that are traditionally found in gin botanicals with those often used in genever.
Why did Monique decide to make her own spirit?
Our Mo has been commercially developing beverages and spirits for a long time. But girl, this distiller had a dream. A dream to create her own spirit, without the restrictions that come with working as an employee. After multiple talks with people from the industry about producing a genever, she knew the time was right.
Why a gin/genever?
It’s a three-parter. First, to acknowledge the similarities found in gin and genever, while showing how these two spirits can build upon each other’s strengths. Second, to make genever more accessible for those who love themselves a gin or people who aren’t familiar with the spirit. ‘Cause while gin is currently more popular than platform shoes were in the nineties, genever is still a bit of an underdog. An underdog that’s slowly and steadily getting the recognition it deserves. But still an underdog. And last but not least, because of Mo’s love for heritage and local spirits. Mexico might have tequila and mezcal, Brazil has cachaça, France has cognac, Italy vermouth and so on. But we… we’ve got genever. When friends from abroad come over, they’re proud to bring you a bottle of their spirit. But us Dutchies, not so much. While we should be. And hopefully will be as we learn more about our local spirit.
Why the name Otenba?
A Japanese friend taught Mo that a lot of Japanese words are derived from the Dutch language. For example, this funny little word for a rebellious girl: Otenba. Which, if we believe the tales, and we prefer to do so, comes from the Dutch word ‘ontembaar’. After extensive Googling it turned out he was (probably) right. And – no surprise here – our rocker, distiller, mom Monique identified with the otenba. The spirited girl that won’t be held back by anyone. That bends the rules. Or rather breaks them. That’s Otenba.
Why would you use Asian flavours in such a Dutch spirit?
Why not? Have you tasted the flavours they use in Asia? Should we really ignore them because genever is Dutch and should stay Dutch? Nah. Sounds ridiculous, right? As Mo wanted to create a whole new kind of gin & genever, she was lured to the spices of Asia inspired by the stories of her genever loving granddad Jacob, who was the inspiration for Otenba. We used pandan, lemongrass and green tea to add some gentleness to our gin & genever.
What distillates are used to make Otenba?
Oh, you want to know all of our secrets? Well… you’re not gonna. But these are the most important distillates used in Otenba.
* Juniper Berry – of course.
* Pandan Leaves
* Sencha Tea
* Lemon Grass
* Bitter Orange
* Orange Blossom
* Malt spirit from barley, rye and corn
Where will Otenba be produced?
Don’t get fooled by our love for Asia. Every single drop of Otenba is made in Amsterdam.
Where will Otenba be available?
Otenba is available in the Netherlands in the following city's & bars:
Amsterdam; Vesper, Venster 33, Bar Feijoa, Freddy's bar/Hotel l'Europe, The Hoxton, Café Frits
Haarlem: Bar Wigbolt, Waterline
Den Haag: Bricks "Hooch and Brew", Yuzu
Rotterdam: The RUMAH
Utrecht: Mr. Finch
Groningen: Mr. Mofongo's
Leersum: Parc Broekhuizen
For those rocking a home bar, bottles can be ordered through Drankerij and Bart’s Bottles (www.bartsbottles.nl).
And we feel like travelling the world very soon.
What are the perfect serves for Otenba?
They are a work in progress.
Where do I find more information or images?
For press images, slide into the mailbox of Otenba via email@example.com. But you can always check out our Instagram and Facebook.
Genever is disgusting?
Well to each their own, but really, it’s not. And otherwise, we can’t wait to prove you differently when Otenba is ready. Even though it’s not a genever. Did we tell you it’s not a genever? And not gin either? (It’s both.)
Nope. ‘Cause you know what? This is not (just) a gin.