Wine, Absinthe and Becherovka
Czech wine is a distant second to Czech beer. Absinthe is illegal almost worldwide but not in Prague and Becherovka is good for the stomach. Wine, absinthe and Becherovka: three good grounds why to come to Prague. Another reason is the beer which the Czech call ‘liquid bread’ and consider it like food, which is not surprising when realising that the average Czech consumes three hundred pints per year. ‘Liquid bread’ is a perfect excuse to drink beer any time of the day.
Wine in Prague
Drink wine in a vinarna, often more sophisticated and quieter than beer gardens. The best Czech wines come from Moravia, a region North-East of Prague. In addition to Czech wines, many European varieties feature on the wine menu.
From September onward, Burcak, the Czech counterpart of Beaujolais Nouveau, is popular. It is fruity and cloudy in appearance. The alcohol is masked by the fresh flavour of the grapes. Burcak goes down like fresh grape juice in the evening but hits hard like a hammer in the morning.
In the winter months svarene vino, mulled wine, is popular. Svarene vino is warmed with stick cinnamon, cloves, sugar and lemon. The best places to drink mulled wine are at one of the many Christmas Markets in Prague.
Absinthe in Prague
In Prague you can find many places where you can buy or drink green-coloured absinthe, popular among Paris left-bank artists and poets in the 1920s, but illegal almost everywhere worldwide. This powerful elixir made of fermented wormwood can have frightening side effects such as hallucinations, seizures and amnesia but it also supposed to provide eternal life. When drinking, the following steps must be taken: a spoonful of sugar soaked in absinthe is lighted, the sugar is allowed to dissolve then it is stirred into a glass of water and absinthe.
Becherovka in Prague
Becherovka is a herbal liqueur flavoured with anise, cinnamon, cloves and 29 other herbs. Spice trader and pharmacist, Jan Becher, experimented with herbs and alcohol which resulted in Becherovka, a stomach-soothing bitter but now a well-loved aperitif found in every bar in Prague. It is a potent drink with an alcohol content of 38%. Becherovka is produced in the Spa city of Karlovy Vary and was first sold in 1807. Part of its essential taste is the Karlovy Vary spring water. The recipe is a well-kept secret: only two persons know the exact ingredients.