Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Becherovka Summer

I began writing for Wine Enthusiast with the June issue. The publication has decided to up its spirits and cocktails coverage, a move I heartily applaud.

My opening item is about Becherovka, the spiced, bitter Czech liqueur that's been around forever, but is only know getting a big push from its mothership, the mighty Pernod Ricard. When it arrived in the mail, I was a bit skeptical. Another obscure European liqueur aimed at the already crowded cocktail market, I thought. But I liked it almost immediately. And, beyond gin, I have never encountered anything that naturally marries so well with tonic water. Bottles empty very slowly around here. This one was gone within a month. 

Czech Liqueur Makes a Return to U.S. Market
Like Chartreuse, the complex herbal recipe behind the ancient Czech liqueur Becherovka is known to only two living souls. Unlike Chartreuse, the 203-year-old Becherovka's fame has never stretched far beyond the borders of its home country. That should change this July, when the liquor conglomerate Pernod Ricard, which bought Becherovka in 2001, begins a re-launch which they hope will improve the liqueur's fortunes in the U.S. 
Becherovka was created in 1807 by pharmacist Josef Becher, who originally sold it in his native Carlsbad solely for medicinal purposes. In the Czech Republic, it is typically taken cold and neat—the better to enjoy its light anise/cinnamon bite—or with a dose of tonic water, a delightful drink know as "Beton" (translation: Concrete). But don't be surprised if you find some new Becherovka cocktails at your local watering hole by summer's end. 
—Robert Simonson 


Neil // YetAnotherGin said...

This is an interesting drink, served cold and neat it is rather nice.

I last drank it about 3 years ago, and currently am in Prague so may have to give it another go. Though herbal drinks are not my favourite when it comes to 'shots' (which I steer away from)

Tara said...

The big question is where the heck can I get Becherovka in NYC? I have finished my bottles from Prague and no liquor store seems to have it. If it is really being relaunched, a better job could certainly be done.

John Xavier III said...

The stores in Westchester County gradually ran out of this - the old distributor is gone, nobody seems to know who the new one is, and it did happen right around a couple of months ago, now can't find it anywhere, quite the relaunch by Pernot ... a new French version of how to penetrate a market .. disappear the product ... I am sure they have some Cartesian/Gallic explanation for this ...