A toast to Prague
People around the globe know that the Czech Republic brews some of the best beer in the world. Many Europeans take advantage of Prague’s easy to access location in the heart of Europe to drop in for a weekend or few days to indulge in the delightful brews at low costs – about 1/3 the price of a pint in Germany or 1/10 of the price in Switzerland. But, beyond the typical Staropramen, Pilsner Urquell, or Gambrinus there are so many other alcohol options that reflect some of the Czech culture…
Slivovice is a plum brandy of the purest clear color. It is closely linked to Moravian culture as seen in movies and real life. For instance, when a couple marry they traditionally down a shot of slivovice on arrival at the restaurant prior to eating their wedding lunch. Commonly, slivovice is said to cure any and all throat ailments. One swig and you’re healed. But, next morning you may awake with a headache instead of the throat ache…
Becherovka is distinctly Czech. While other countries distill slivovice (under various names), Becherovka is produced only in the Czech town of Karlovy Vary, otherwise known as Carlsbad. This medicinal alcohol (bitter) was invented in the late 18th century by Josef Becher who blended together a secret concoction of spices and herbs to create his famous drink. To this day, his recipe remains a closely guarded secret – only 2 people know all of the spices, herbs, and how much of each to put into the mix. Everyone else can only guess and speculate based on the flavor – mainly, people say they detect ginger, cinnamon, and licorice. According to Czech lore, a shot a day keeps the doctor away. And, if by chance you get ill while practicing this regime, merely upgrade to 2 shots a day until healthy.
For a lighter alcohol fix, try the Bohemia Sekt. It is the famous Czech sparkling wine. Generally, it is made from white wine and often is called “sampanske vino” (champagne wine) after it’s famous French counterpart. Whether enjoying a fine meal in a restaurant or a romantic dinner at home, Bohemia Sekt always makes the occasion more special.
And, don’t forget, when toasting or clinking glasses of beer, wine, or liquor always say, “Na zdravi!”
Written by Rebekah Sramkova