- On November 8, 2016
This Month in the Cocktail Corner, learn about two whiskeys, an herbal liqueur from the Czech Republic, and an easy cocktail that incorporates all three.
Ever since I first tried Becherovka, not a day has gone by where I didn’t have it on my
liquor shelf. In short, Becherovka is a slightly sweet herbal liqueur from the Czech Republic. However, to call it just another herbal liqueur wouldn’t do it justice. Becherovka has a pronounced clove, allspice, and cardamom aspect. It’s commonly said that Becherovka “tastes like Christmas.” It’s history goes back to 1807 when it was sold as “Becher’s English Bitter,” made by pharmacist Josef Becher. His son, Johann, sold it as a liqueur rather than a medicine, and the company took off. Today, the recipe is only known to two people who meet every Wednesday to oversee the blending of over 20 botanicals which is then aged in barrels for four weeks. I recommend drinking Becherovka on its own, as a digestif after a meal. Mix the liqueur with lemon and tonic for a cocktail called “beton,” meaning concrete. If you have time, Becherovka’s website is fun and interesting to navigate. Find it on the shelf for $26.49
Four Roses Bourbon “Yellow Label”
Four Roses Bourbon Whiskey began as a company back in the late 1800’s. According to their website, they were the “most noted and recognized name in the business,” back in the 1940’s. The brand left the States after being acquired by Seagram in 1943, but finally came back in 2002. They’re noted for their use of only 2 mash bills (the proportions of grains used in the whiskey), and 5 different yeast strains that create 10 bourbon recipes. The Yellow Label, their entry level bottling, is a blend of all those bourbons. Coming in at 80 proof, it is a lighter style whiskey, with floral and honey aroma, and a stone fruit flavor. It is very soft and smooth. On sale for $17.99/ reg, $19.99 per 750mL
Old Overholt Straight Rye Whiskey
Old Overholt Rye is said to be America’s oldest continually-maintained brand of whiskey.
Founded in 1810, it’s now produced at the Jim Beam Distillery in Clermont, Kentucky. It’s aged for 3 years, bottled at 80 proof, and just might be the lightest and smoothest rye
whiskey for the money. Former Presidents Ulysses S. Grant and John F Kennedy were Old Overholt drinkers. The whiskey itself has pepper and vanilla on the nose, with clove, caramel, and more vanilla and pepper on the palate. On sale for $15.29 from $16.99 per 750mL
The Old Republic
I have to credit this cocktail to John Zarth of Meritage and Brie Roland of St. Genevieve, who both taught me to bartend at the late Brasserie Zentral. It was our house old fashioned, called Old Republic. To make this cocktail, you’ll need honey syrup. To make the syrup combine equal parts by volume honey and water. It is easier if you use hot water, but you’ll need to let the syrup cool if you do.
.5 oz honey syrup
.5 oz Becherovka
1 oz old overholt rye
1 oz Four Roses yellow label
Using the back of a bar spoon, squish two cherries in a lowball glass. Fill a pint glass (or mason jar) with ice, add all of the ingredients, stir until chilled careful not to over dilute the drink. Strain into the lowball, fill the glass with large ice cubes, express an orange peel over the top, enjoy.