Friday, May 2, 2008


Hi Everyone,
When you come on a trip to the Czech Republic you quickly realize that alcoholic drinks are an important part of Czech life! They love to drink everything from beer to wine, and vodka—heavy on the beer! Czechs love their pivo (beer)! The Czech Republic is famous for its beer, but is also famous for other liquors, one of which is Becherovka.

Becherovka was first produced in 1807 by Josef Becher. He was a pharmacist in the city of Karlovy Vary (a famous spa city in the western part of Bohemia). Becher originally formulated this special mix of herbs, spices, mineral water, sugar and alcohol as a cure for digestive problems! It was a very useful medicine—and soon, Becherovka developed into a very popular drink!

Becherovka has a very herbal, spicy (almost medicinal) smell—this is because it is made from a top secret recipe--a mixture of 102 herbs that are mixed together and put in a sack which is then soaked in alcohol for a week. The resulting extract is then mixed with sugar and spring water from Karolvy Vary (it can only be this spring water—no other will work as it drastically effects the taste of the finished product), and then the mixture is put into oak barrels where it matures for about 2 months. After 2 months, the Becherovka is a finished product and ready to drink. It is interesting to note that only 2 employees know the recipe for Becherovka! And, usually Becherovka should be chilled…most people keep it in the freezer. Some also add a slice of lemon to add some more flavor to the drink. It is also a drink that is very high in alcohol (38 %), and it should only be sipped, never downed!

My introduction to Becherovka came a few years ago when I came to the Czech Republic for the first time. I remember the smell at first put me off—it smelled like cough syrup to me! And the first taste was a shock as it was more on the bitter side! But, after that first sip or two, I didn’t really care how it smelled…or that it was bitter…I really didn’t care any more! I began to like it! Over time, Becherovka has really grown on me!

Becherovka is still used, today, by Czechs as a tonic for the digestive system and for a way to get over the stiffness and aches of arthritis and rheumatism. Just this past week I was sick with a stomach virus…my stomach was cramping pretty badly and no medicines were working. So, my husband suggested I try Becherovka. Anything with alcohol was really the last thing I wanted to even think of at that point! But, I agreed to try it…my husband poured me a very small amount of Becherovka in a glass. I sipped this and over time, my stomach really did calm down! I really did begin to feel better! I have no idea how Becherovka works to help the digestive tract, except that maybe some of the spices and herbs have an antispasmodic effect. One added note, I also have asthma…and sometimes Becherovka has helped to relieve my asthma when meds didn’t—maybe for that same antispasmodic effect. Anyway, I’m a convert and will keep Becherovka on hand from now on!

That’s all for now…you all have a great weekend!

God bless,
Sher :0)

PS The above picture of Becherovka is my own personal bottle! However, since it was afternoon when I took this photo, I did not have a drink--although, a Czech doesn't mind what time of the day they might take a nip! :0)

Photos by S. Vacik

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