Becherovka is a Czech national drink, an old traditional herbal liqueur. It was published as early as 1807 and was then known as Karlsbader Becherbitter. The product was developed by Josef Vitus Becher, at Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic. Today it is owned by French beverage giant Pernod Ricard.
More than 20 herbs, spices and citrus oils are used to make Becherovka. Dried and imported herbs are mostly included, but also fresh herbs collected close to the factory area. The spices are soaked in a strong distillate made from wine. The mixture is heated from time to time to release as much flavor as possible. After soaking, the mixture is filtered twice and cooled to near freezing to obtain the clearest possible result. Sugar is added and then the end result is matured several weeks. The exact recipe for the product is a secret and only two people know it. Becherovka is enjoyed as such chilled or with ice, as well as in various cocktails. A 50cl bottle of Becherovka costs about € 12 in Estonia.
The aroma reveals Christmas spices familiar from gingerbread. Clove, cinnamon, allspice, cardamom. The aroma is strong and deep, sweet and quite pungent. The mouthfeel is thick and the liqueur is quite sweet at first. However, spiciness takes over quickly and there is a great variety of spices on the tongue. The pungent taste of cloves stands out most clearly, cinnamon, and other spices mix together into a thick soup. Alcohol kick is also clearly felt. In the background there is a sense of the stinging burn of allspice and ginger and the bitterness of some other spice. The aftertaste remains strong for a long time and is surprisingly dry.
Becherovka is quite a taste bomb when drinking neat and perhaps a little too sweet and bitter. The taste is very original but a bit unbalanced and requires some refreshing drink as a mixer. Continued with soda or tonic water, the same spiciness is strongly present and even a small amount of Becherovka is enough to give a Christmass like, spicy taste. Thus, in the hot summer weather, the taste is a bit strange, it works better around Christmas for sure. I think it would work really well with tea, hot apple juice or just hot water.