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Photo: Antti

Matador Community Expert Kat Lapelosa’s recommendations for your first night with Becherovka.

I’M SITTING IN THE BASEMENT of a random potraviny (the Czech version of a bodega). Petr, the boy who works in the cafe next to my flat, slides me a shot glass filled with liquid gold.

“In Czech Republic,” he begins, “you always look the person directly in the eye when you cheers. Do not cross arms with other people at the table. Then you say, ‘na zdravi!’

To your health.

“To my impeding alcoholism” is what it should mean. The velvety liquid burns harshly as it slides down my throat. Wincing, I stare at the empty glass. And then, the (extremely common) first reaction:

Taking Becherovka straight, without a mixer, is a commitment.

“It tastes like Christmas!”

The drink is Becherovka, a Czech spirit. Its Christmas-y flavor comes from a secret combination of anise, cinnamon, and a veritable pastiche of herbs, distinguishing it from other bitters. Becherovka is best sampled at local dives (especially the basement of a potraviny), but my favorite drinking venue really depends on my mood.

Taking Becherovka straight, without a mixer, is a commitment. First timers, I recommend you head to Popo Cafe Petl to break your Bechj seal (pronounced beh-kee). This underground music bar is a good place to order a beton, a Czech cocktail of Becherovka mixed with tonic water.

Sip your spicy drink while requesting ’90s hits of the iPod DJ. Czechs at Popo Cafe Petl seem to really love them some Chumbawumba and Aqua — lip-syncing along with other Popo patrons is a good idea.

Once Becherovka’s 38% alcohol by volume starts doing its thing on you, stop by Chapeau Rouge in Old Town. You might be able to handle the bizarre, Tim Burton-esque decor sober, but it’s probably easier with a shot of Bechj in your system.

Lose yourself in the three-story myriad of secret passageways, spiral staircases, and hidden caves hosting dub step / house music / disco fever talent. Becherovka tastes better when consumed while head banging with dreadlocked tourists and crowd surfing above Czechs in flashy outfits.

At the end of the evening, you may never want to see a bottle of Becherovka again.

This sentiment will wear off when you take a final swig on Střelecký Island. A quiet slice of land in the middle of the Vltava River, Střelecký is a mellow spot to end your evening with Bechj.

Prague doesn’t have an “open container” policy, so cuddle up with your friends in front of views of the sparkling Charles Bridge and the swans that swim close to shore.

***Explore the world party scene with 101 PLACES TO GET F*CKED UP BEFORE YOU DIE. Part travel guide, part drunken social commentary, 101 Places to Get F*cked Up Before You Die may have some of the most hilarious scenes and straight-up observations of youth culture of any book you’ve ever read.***

Cocktails


 

About The Author

Katka Lapelosa

Katka is a Contributing Editor and the Social Media Manager for Matador Network. She is based in New York and has worked in the travel industry for the past five years. Other contributions include articles for Vittana, Thought Catalog, Travel Fashion Girl, Yelp!, Where’s Cool?, TripAha! and more. Read more about how awesome she is at katkatravels.com.

  • BB

    Nice article, it is interesting to see the experiences with  Becherovka of tourists :) I am from the Czech republic and Becherovka is frequently used as a medicine, take just one short. For all night drinking I thinks it is better to drink Becherovka Lemond, new version for young they said. It also has less alcohol :D 

    • Krl529

      Yes!  My Czech host family prescribed me a shot of the stuff when I had a throat infection…I like the way Czechs think about their health :) I will have to try the Lemond soon!

  • Travel_and_Escape_Community

    Have you had a chance to watch the new travel show Scam City? The premiere was shot in Prague.  Did you ever fall victim to a scam while in Prague? You can watch the show here: http://www.travelandescape.ca/watch/scam-city/

  • Muller411

    My Czech family drinks this. Indeed it does taste like Christmas and I too, after a few too many, never want to see another bottle. It always somehow lurks into my view and ends up in my stomach. 

  • Aliza Quinlan

    I spent 4 days in the CR fueled on this Christmas taste…lol it was wonderful!

  • Daly Avendaño

    Marcela Romero Romiecientaaaa!
    ya se como tomarlo, el trago se llama Beton: besherovka and tonic!
    sabes que te quiero vdd! disfruta tus vacaciones!

    • Marcela Romero

      Perfecto!!! Ojala te quede rico, cuidate!! Tqm!!

    • Daly Avendaño

      yaaa soooy fan del becherovka
      osea es absinthe y la onda es en shot! jajaja delicioso

  • JakubHanke

    potraviny means groceries or grocery store :-)

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