Dr Franciscus Sylvius
The Fable of Dr. Sylvius
"Franciscus Sylvius def la Boe was a professor of medicine at Leiden university, Holland, between 1658 and 1672. During his time at the University, Sylvius cooked up no small quantity of juniper based tonics, and prior to that he had worked as a plague doctor, where juniper had no doubt featured in his arsenal of preventative remedies. It’s fair to say that Dr. Sylvius is historically one of junipers most reliable advocates. Nowadays, however, he is widely and erroneously credited as the man who invented genever.
There are plenty of reasons why Sylvius couldn’t possibly have been the inventor of genever, or juniper spirits. The fact that Sylvius was only born in 1614- late enough to have entirely missed the Flemmish boom of the 16th century- should be proof enough, but just to be sure, it’s worth pointing out that genever was never mentioned in any of his surviving research, nor was he ever cited more than once regarding his distilling expertise. Oh, and did I mention he was German, born in Hanover? Case closed."
Excerpt from The Curious Bartenders's Gin Palace by Tristan Stephenson