Burčák: The Happy Drink

It’s burčák season once again.

Burčák is a Moravian drink made from grape juice normally produced between August to November.   It is actually the earliest stage of wine fermentation, thus it is often called “young wine.”  Each winemaker has his/her own secret technique in burčák-making, but the basic steps remain the same:  juice derived from crushed grapes are fermented and at some point taken out for consumption.  The alcohol level in Burčák is somewhere between 5%-8% and because  it tastes like juice, it can be very deceiving.

My husband and I were at a county fair last weekend and we ended up buying burčák.  Last night, burčák’s deceptive taste made me happy all night.  At dinnertime, I generously consumed this sweet-tasting drink and ended up getting tipsy.  The burčák that we bought must’ve had the maximum amount of alcohol allowed by law.  I can’t believe it hit me that fast.  I know I get drunk pretty easily, but eversince I’ve been here, I have increased my tolerance for alcohol.  Gone were the days when a bottle of beer could get me drunk.  Or so I thought.  But I was no match for burčák.  This sweet alcoholic drink is dangerous!

So if you are ever in the Czech Republic between August to November, beware of this cloudy white liquid that may proliferate in pubs, bars or county fairs.    It may look and taste harmless, but may leave you crawling back home.

Na Zdravi!