A Czech-Styl​e Dark and Stormy

Storm clouds over Prague, where I discovered Becherovka

My wife and I recently had dinner out at a local German restaurant.  The drink menu featured a Dark and Stormy with an interesting twist: a shot of Becherovka layered on top.  This sounded like an interesting addition to an already delicious cocktail – an addition my wife eagerly encouraged me to sample and write about.

Some context: I first learned about Becherovka – a cinnamon and anise-flavored herbal liqueur – on a visit to the Czech Republic with her a few years ago.  While wandering about Prague we noticed locals drinking Becherovka,  traditionally served after a meal as a digestif, neat and very cold, or mixed with tonic water and served over ice.

The spirit intrigued me: I had always assumed that Absinthe, the infamous hallucinogen, was a Czech’s drink of choice.  So before leaving Prague, I bought a large bottle of Becherovka to enjoy at home, which during the trip I had taken mixed equally with tonic water.  The liqueur’s pungent spices mingled perfectly with the water’s quinine, a calming drink at the end of a meal.

It was the memory of this trip that was stirred during my recent dinner of spaetzle, red cabbage, German potato salad, sauerkraut, smoked pork loin, Polish kielbassy, and for dessert, apple strudel; decadent, I know.  Although I didn’t order a Becherovka Dark and Stormy with dinner – instead opting for a stein of Spaten pilsner – I didn’t object when my wife placed a bottle of ginger beer in our cart while out shopping the next day.

My ingredients: cracked ice, a bottle of ginger beer, Havana Club dark rum, lime juice, and of course Becherovka.  After making a standard Dark and Stormy, simply “float” (or layer) an ounce of Becherovka on top.  Floating is achieved by pouring the shot over a bar spoon – or any cold tablespoon, really – to slowly distribute (or “minimally disturb”) the cocktail’s mixture.  This technique, along with Becherovka’s lighter alcohol density, allows it to float atop the cocktail, mixing only with its first few sips.

Becherovka’s anise and cinnamon flavors mixed mysteriously with the Dark and Stormy’s rum and ginger, creating much more brooding, heavier, and potent tastes.  Yet these gloomy flavors disappear in short order and make the ginger beer’s usual spiciness mild in comparison, and that much more refreshing.

The Czech-style Dark and Stormy, inspired by a German dinner, is a unique cocktail and one to be enjoyed selectively, perhaps on a cool and rainy summer night.  To borrow from the Dark and Stormy’s sailing heritage, Becherovka’s flavors are like being wrapped in a warm wool blanket when at sea in cold, windy, dreary conditions: comforting, warming, and temporary, until sunshine breaks through and calmer seas prevail.

Published in: on May 26, 2011 at 9:37 am  Comments (4)  
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  1. Dude! This drink sounds fantastic! And your meal sounds pretty fabulous too. Do they sell this Czech stuff in the States? I do enjoy a fine digestif. Averna (from the motherland of Sicily), Cynar, and Fernet Branca are on my list of favorites. I guess I have added yet another “must try” spirit to my list.

    Well done!


    • Usually specialty liquor stores will stock a few bottles or at least special order you one. It’s not particularly rare, but at the same time, it’s not flying off the shelves either. With a little looking, I’m sure you’ll find a bottle in no time at all. When you do, let me know what you think!

  2. very interesting… now i’ll need to try both a dark and stormy and a Czech and stormy 🙂

    • A great way to work on your new bartending skills!

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