Posted by: Chelsea Novak | September 29, 2002


Yesterday M and I attended the new wine festival in Vinohrady. We had a chance to give the new bikes a run up and down the hill and I had the chance to try Burcak for the first time. What is it, you ask? It’s like cider made from grapes and it’s generally only available just after the harvest as it gets too strong to drink when it ferments too much.

Burcak looks like muddy water. As we were riding into Namesti Jiriho Z Podebrad I noticed all these people with 1.5 L bottles, with what I assumed was muddy water. Maybe there was some Czech tradition on Svaty Vaclav involving pouring muddy water onto unsuspecting passers by or whoever decided to wear green that day. Who was I to know? I thought this was a totally rational country until I spent my first Easter here and everyone went mental getting into this tradition of chasing women with pomlasky (sticks) and hitting them on the legs and behind to make or keep them fertile. (Yes, I stay inside on Easter). Unusual traditions are all over the place, so my dousing suspicions weren’t such a stretch.

Anyway, it turns out there’s no tradition of pouring muddy water on people, that’s just what Burcak looks like. And if you close your eyes when you drink it, it’s just a very sweet cider like drink. It comes with a pink hue and an orange hue (it all looked like muddy water to me). I only had a little, and was saved the day-after-burcak hangover from hell. I’m certain there are a lot of people who were there yesterday that cannot claim such clear headedness today.



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