When it comes to alcohol most people bring home a couple of bottles of beer and, maybe, an absinth. Mainly because that’s what Czech Republic is famous for, and you think ‘Ok, so that’s it’. Well, it’s not. If you want your friends back home to have a sip or two of the real Czech Republic – here’s some advice for your alcohol shopping in Prague

Czech absinth

Ooooh, this is going to be interesting! I hate to disappoint you, but most of the’ bohemian-style absinth’ (yep, without the ‘e’ in the end) here is… well… not really what you’d think it is. All these skull-shaped bottles, claims of ‘originality of the recipe’ and high thujone levels are merely ways to make you buy. And here’s where you must be cautious. Mass-production has lead to a deterioration in both the quality and the safety of consumption of absinth. I mean, yeah, if you like an occasional shot of burnt gasoline you might enjoy drinking that stuff. But if you want the taste of real absinthe on your tongue – go to the Absintherie (www.absintherie.cz) on Jilska in the Old Town and ask for either a Swiss ‘Butterfly’, a French ‘Amer’ or anything they may recommend. These guys know their business well. You could try a Czech brand, but don’t be too excited – it sucks. And, please, keep in mind that alcohol poisoning is not the best souvenir you can bring your friends back home. :)

Czech wine

The average person’s knowledge about Czech wine is second to nothing. I mean, it is very unlikely for you to walk into a wine shop back home and find a bottle or two made in the Czech Republic. It is a small country with lots of small to mid-size, family-owned vineyards that are just barely able to cover their home market. The best wines here come from Moravia, and, if you want the taste of that part of Czech Republic, the best way to do this is by visiting Vinograf (www.vinograf.cz), a wine bar with probably the largest selection of good Czech wines. Then you can go wine shopping in Prague to bring home a couple of bottles.

The heavy stuff

If you’re going alcohol shopping in Prague, I’m sure your friends and family members might enjoy the tastes of the following beverages consumed by Czechs every day:

  • Fernet Stock (40% alc.), a bitters from Plzen made with 14 different herbs from the Mediterranean and the Alps;
  • Becherovka (38% alc.), of course;
  • Bozkov Peprmint (19% alc.), also referred to as ‘the green’ or ‘zelena’. Czechs prefer to have a shot or two of this peppermint liquor every 2 beers… You can imagine the outcome;
  • Tuzemak or Bozkov Tuzemsky (37.5% alc.) a rum-like, distilled liquor;
  • Slivovice (40-50% alc.), a plum brandy produced in most Slavic regions of Europe;
  • Hruskovice (42% alc.), the same type of brandy made from pears;
  • Vajecny liker (20% alc.), yep, Czechs too have eggnog;

To be continued…