We recently had a visitor from the Czech Republic. She brought a bottle of Becherovka as a gift. This is a traditional Czech liqueur with strong herbal flavours. At 38% alcohol it is a shade below the standard strength of spirits. It dates back to the early nineteenth century, when, like many such complex liqueurs, it was created as a health tonic. The last time that I had a bottle was before I became interested in mixing cocktails, so I was excited to add some new recipes to my repertoire. I enjoy using strongly herbal drinks like Campari and Chartreuse, so I was sure I could make some interesting new cocktails.
My first Becherovka cocktail came from Kindred Cocktails, an excellent source of contemporary and original recipes. The drink I choose was called BBC Two. It is unusual for a Becherovka cocktail for a couple of reasons. The name avoids a pun on Czech/check; a temptation that I failed to resist in picking a title for this post. The second oddity is that faced with finding a way of incorporating the potentially overwhelming flavours of Becherovka, the creator decided to double down and add Campari. The result, however, justified the decision as the herbs and varied bitterness of the two ingredients complemented each other. The third ingredient was Rum. The recipe specified Appleton Estate V/X, which is my go-to rum and so I had a bottle to hand. I am not convinced that the choice of Rum is critical, as the subtle flavour of the spirit was overwhelmed by the other two ingredients; I could prove this assumption by seeing if the drink tastes noticeably different with a more neutral Rum, but have yet to do so.
1 oz Rum, Appleton Estate V/X
1 oz Campari
1 oz Becherovka
Stir with ice, strain, serve up in a chilled cocktail glass
A traditional way of serving Becherovka in its home country is called a Beton. The name is taken from the two main ingredients: Becherovka and Tonic Water. Oddly, the name is also the word for concrete in Czech.
Fill a Collins glass with ice, pour the Becherovka over the ice, squeeze the wedge over the glass, and then add the Tonic Water.
California Girl comments: In October I shall be visiting the Czech Republic to visit family there. Sadly, The Brit won’t be joining me. (It sucks to be him!) I am looking forward to learning all about Czech food and alcohol while I am there. I shall, of course, be blogging the entire visit. Watch for my trip through Eastern Europe and The UK coming in October and November.