Malcolm Jolley tries something different from the Czech Republic.
A few weeks ago, when it was more winter than spring, I tried for the first time the Czech spirit, from the famed spa town of Carlsbad, Becherovka. Becherovka is sold in Vintages for a reasonable $30.65 for a 750 ml bottle (LCBO# 603456). A friend, who recently became its importing agent, brought it over to try as a kind of hand sell PR excercise. At the first taste I wondered if we were a few monhts too late, the notes that dominate this 38% a.b.v. herbal liquor are cinnamon, cloves and orange peel, flavours that first made me think of Christmas. Then, Andrew the agent suggested we do something different. He explained that Becherovka had successfully got the mixologists of Prague to try: we made a Becherovka and tonic with a bottle of Fever Tree I had leftover in the basement fridge from the summer. It worked.
According to Becherovka’s publicity material, the drink I made by mixing it with tonic, ice and lemon is called a Beton. I Google translated that word from Czech to English and was told it means ‘concrete’, which seems like an odd name for what’s actually a light and refreshing fizzy drink. Then, my wife suggested it was simply a shortened amalgamation of Becherovka and Tonic. Right. Anyway, the wintry notes in the Becherovka are sort of taken over by the citrussy ones in it and the tonic and lemon wedge, and makes a very nice summer drink, which I plan to surprise my guests with as the warm days have finally arrived. We can pretend we are lounging around Carlsbad in between taking our treatments. If you’re up for the adventure, I suggest you give it a try.