Bir Plethok, a Resistance Beer from Betawi

"The history of bir pletok is the history of resistance. Bir pletok was created as an alternative to alcoholic beverages that are often consumed by Europeans in Batavia."

Published by : Kurnia HD  -  10/02/2020 07:57 WIB

2 Minutes read.

The history of bir pletok is told by JJ Rizal, a Betawi historian. Since long time ago Betawi people are very close to Islam. This can be seen clearly from the clothing of the Betawi men who always wear a sarong that is hung around their neck and always wear a cap. Problem came when they’re curious with a variety of liquor the Dutch enjoyed during their parties. They also want to taste the Europe wines. But it’s liquor and strictly forbidden in Islam, haram! So, they then create a counter culture. Betawi people make beer colored drinks, red-brown. But with no alcohol content. They call it bir plethok. Over time, bir plethok has become one of the most popular traditional drinks in Betawi community. However, not a few people are completely unaware of the existence of this drink.

Well, for Jamupedia friends curious enough with Bir plethok taste, you can make your own Bir plethok with the following recipe.


  • 500 g ginger
  • 10 cloves
  • 2 pieces cinnamon
  • 5 cardamoms (seeds removed)
  • 4 sticks lemongrass
  • 5 daun jeruk purut (leaves of kaffir lime, Citrus hystrix)
  • 50-75 g kayu secang (sappanwood, Biancaea sappan)
  • 350 g sugar
  • nutmeg powder to taste
  • salt to taste
  • water 2 lt

How to make:

  1. Bring water to a boil in medium heat
  2. Wash and peel the ginger by scraping the skin. Once clean, burn the ginger and sliced ​​thinly or crushed.
  3. Wash the lemongrass and take the rootstock then crush it.
  4. Thinly slice the kaffir lime leaves.
  5. Put all the ingredients into the boiling water for about 15 minutes.
  6. Strain the water into a glass
  7. Wait until it cools down to serve.



Sunaryo, Endang S. 2015. Minuman Tradisional Penguat Kekebalan Tubuh. Jakarta: PT Elex Media Komputindo.

https://www.cnnindonesia.com/gaya-hidup/20150622154243-262-61620/sejarah-bir-pletok-betawi-tiruan-anggur-barat-tanpa-alkohol diakses tanggal 23 Januari 2019