Seems to me that every old-world country has an herbal tonic (or a dozen) that are purported to cure all that ails you. Becherovka is the Czech Republic’s cure-all. Invented in 1807 by Josef Becher and Christian Frobrig, Becherovka is a blend of herbs, spices, oils, alcohol and the mineral rich water of Karlovy Vary. The herbal liqueur is typically served cold as a digestif, but is also consumed as a home remedy for arthritis.
I can’t speak for Becherovka’s curative properties, but I can speak for its tastiness. Which, I’d imagine, is more important to you anyway. First, a honey-like sweetness hits your palate, though it’s lighter than you’re led to expect by the smell. Clove is definitely the main flavor player, but cardamom, cinnamon and allspice also play key roles. The clove, while the dominant flavor, is not overpowering. Sipping this ice cold after a meal is a treat. Especially in the hot summer a nice cold digestif cools you and finishes out the meal in what feels like a very sophisticated manner.
But, what of cocktails? I didn’t go crazy with this one, but I did try a couple experiments. First, I found that it blends tremendously well with a cup of hot tea. Don’t go overboard, add only an ounce to a cup of tea and the herbal and spice flavors really play well with the tea. Following that, I decided to try one of Becherovka’s signature drinks, the Beton. A Beton is Becherovka and tonic. It seems simple, and it is, but the flavors are far more complex than the recipe. The citric and bitter notes of the tonic work really well with the sweetness and spice of the liqueur. I like to keep the ratio fairly low at 3:1 tonic to Becherovka. By not overdilluting you allow the liqueur to stay front and center. The drink is complex, but refreshing. I’d definitely drink this again.
† The product reviewed here was provided to me as a free sample. If you’re wondering what that means check out my sample policy.