The Improved Holland Gin Cocktail

13 June 2017Naomy Laan

The Improved Holland Gin Cocktail

History of the "Improved Holland Gin Cocktail"

Improved is a reference to the ingredients in the drink just like the name Mule is in a Moscow Mule. It all started with a plain cocktail. As we know the definition of a cocktail was mentioned in The Balance & Colombian Repository in 1806. A mixed drink containing a spirit, sugar, bitters and water is called a “plain” cocktail. If you add things to the recipe like a dash of curacao, a slice of lemon or moisten the rim with lemon juice and serve it in a fancy glass this can be labeled as a “fancy” cocktail. “Improved” means you add maraschino liqueur and absinthe to the cocktail recipe. Between 1870-1880 maraschino liqueur became fashionable and curaçao lost favour. The same goes for absinthe, it was a new, cool and available product that added lots of flavour and ‘edge’ to cocktails. The bitters used in an Improved Holland Gin cocktail is Boker’s or Angostura bitters. Boker’s bitters can be difficult to obtain so you could opt for Angostura, although the resulting flavour will be different. Just like the fancy cocktail, the improved cocktail uses the zest of a lemon. The type of Improved Cocktail you make depends on the base spirit you use, like Holland Gin (genever) makes an Improved Holland Gin Cocktail, Brandy makes an Improved Brandy Cocktail etc. Genever was the spirit of choice for most bartenders at that time because of its unique, full-bodied, malty and smooth flavour.

The "Improved Holland Gin Cocktail"


  • 2 oz Bols Genever
  • 3 dashes Rich Sugar Syrup
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 2 dashes Bols Maraschino
  • 1 dash Absinthe

How to make a "Improved Holland Gin Cocktail"

Step 1: Pour all ingridients in a Mixing glass..
Step 2: tir all the ingredients with ice.
Step 3: Strain into a small cocktail glass.
Step 4: Garnish with a lemon zest.

Want to learn more about stirring cocktails? Follow this link!

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Naomy Laan

Naomy Laan

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