|Country of origin||Czech Republic|
|Alcohol by volume||38%|
Becherovka (Czech pronunciation: [ˈbɛxɛˌrofka] ( )), formerly Karlsbader Becherbitter, is an herbal bitters, often drunk as a digestive aid that is produced in Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic by the Jan Becher company. The brand is owned by Pernod Ricard.
Becherovka is often described as having a gingery or cinnamony flavor. It is made from a secret recipe based on a wide variety of herbs and spices. Its alcohol content is 38% ABV (76 proof). It is usually served chilled, though some serve it with tonic water, making a drink called a beton (becherovka and tonic) which means "concrete" in Czech, German and several other languages.
The Jan Becher Museum in Karlovy Vary is devoted to Becherovka.
The inventor of Becherbitter was Josef Vitus Becher (1769–1840). Apart from trading in spices and colonial goods in his shop, “Haus zu den drei Lerchen” (“At the Three Skylarks”), he also produced alcoholic beverages. In 1794, he rented a stillhouse and began to experiment with hard alcohol. Following the example of his forefathers, he also served in public office (as councillor, mayor and portreeve). Josef married twice (his first wife died of pneumonia) and had a total of 16 children, though only five daughters and two sons outlived him. Josef’s son, Johann "Jan" Nepomuk Becher, took over in 1838.
From 1998 to 2003, a Slovak version was also sold, manufactured by Zdeněk Hoffmann in Domažlice (formerly Taus) in Bohemia, who claimed that Alfred Becher had given his grandfather the recipe in 1939, with the right to manufacture the product, as he was worried that the secret might not survive the war. Hoffmann was unable to prove this in court, and in 2007 was sentenced by the Domažlice district court.
Today, only two people know the secret of the entire production process and may enter the Drogikamr room—where, once a week, they mix the herbs and spices used in the drink. Some of the herbs are imported from abroad, and some grow around Karlovy Vary.
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