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The exterior of PROOF, a shop and tasting room
PROOF

A Gin Renaissance in Flanders

By Andrew Harper

The Hideaway Report | April 23, 2018

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On my recent trip to Ghent, Belgium, I came across Proof, a newly opened shop and tasting room that carries a variety of the best and rarest spirits from all over Europe. Its most interesting bottles are the gins being produced by new distilleries in Flanders. (This represents a local renaissance, since jenever, the juniper-flavored liquor from which gin evolved, was born in the Low Countries during the 13th century.)

On my recent trip to Ghent, Belgium, I came across Proof, a newly opened shop and tasting room that carries a variety of the best and rarest spirits from all over Europe. Its most interesting bottles are the gins being produced by new distilleries in Flanders. (This represents a local renaissance, since jenever, the juniper-flavored liquor from which gin evolved, was born in the Low Countries during the 13th century.)

A selection of limited-edition liquors at PROOF PROOF

By the end of the 19th century, gin had become so popular in Belgium that it was having a deleterious effect on worker productivity, which resulted in a 1919 law banning its sale in cafés. This statute, which was calamitous for Flemish gin production, wasn’t repealed until the 1980s, by which time only a handful of distilleries remained. Now a new artisanal gin movement has developed.

The two outstanding Flemish gins are Ginderella, seasoned with wild botanicals — Herb Robert, Japanese knotweed and lesser swine cress among them — gathered from parks in Ghent, and Save The Queen, which is flavored with raw honey from urban hives.

PROOF
Jan Breydelstraat 34, Gent. Tel. +32 472 83 42 85

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