Whisky Magazine Issue 12
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Ken Hoskins travels to eastern Europe and puts his feet up in the Be Bop Bar with his new Czech mate.
Who would consider Prague a whisky drinking destination? The only distilled spirit the Czechs are known for is Karlovarska Becherovka, a bitter herbal concoction best left to little old ladies and to youngsters who like it with 7-Up.
Yet, tucked away in the lobby of the historic Radisson SAS Hotel is The Be Bop Bar. It's a clubby oasis of dark wood and green marble where Alexander ‘Alex' Miksovic reigns as the Republic's premier bartender. Whisky will be hard put to find a better friend than Alex.
The Radisson SAS is located just off Prague's famous Wenceslas Square. Originally built in 1930 as the Alcron Hotel, it was jazz-age Prague's most swinging, ‘in' hotel. When Radisson re-opened this Art Deco gem in 1998, completely restored to its former glory, Alex and The Be Bop Bar brought jazz back to the city centre.
Despite his passion for all things cocktail , clearly Alex's first love is whisky and particularly Blanton's single barrel bourbon from Franklin County, Kentucky. Over the past five years, he has twice spent weeks touring the Bourbon whiskey distilleries of Kentucky. Earlier this year he was in Scotland for a month and in Ireland for three weeks visiting a total of 50 distilleries. On his last Kentucky visit, in May of this year, Alex insisted on stopping at a local market to buy a bouquet of fresh flowers which he placed, with great solemnity, at the foot of the statue honoring Colonel Blanton himself.
It was the Colonel's private stock of barrels, aged in ...