Bir Pletok, Won’t Make You Drunk, It’s Rich in Betawi Spices Instead

"Bir Pletok (Pletok Beer) is a non-alcoholic and spice-rich drink served during Betawi traditional events such as circumcisions or weddings. In 2012 bir pletok is made into a traditional Betawi icon by the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy"

Published by : administrator  -  03/06/2021 13:20 WIB

3 Minutes read.

Bir pletok emerged during the Dutch colonial administration. At that time the Dutch aristocrats had a habit of serving beer, wine, and other alcoholic beverages at parties or during their leisure time with family. Alcoholic drinks for Europeans are a way to warm the body.

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Seeing this, the Betawi people want to compete with them by making body-warming drinks that resemble beer but are free of alcohol content. The innovation of the Betawi people to produce a body-warming drink but won’t make them drunl has resulted in the bir pletok, which is now a Betawi specialty. Even though it is called beer, this drink is not intoxicating, it is healthy for the body.

The name bir pletok comes from the “pletak-pletok” sound when beer is poured and shaken in a bamboo tube with ice cubes. Pletok beer is made from a mixture of Indonesian spices such as cinnamon, sappan wood, ginger, lemongrass, cardamom, cloves, lime leaves, pandan leaves, and nutmeg.

Because it is made from natural ingredients, this drink is also safe for consumption. The spices in bir pletok can get rid of health complaints, including: increasing stamina; relieve headaches/migraines; overcome digestive problems; relieve stomach pain; control cholesterol; and of course, as a body warmer.

A cup of bir pletok is most enjoyable at night because it gives a warm sensation especially during the rainy season and the air starts to get cold. Enjoyed in the morning is also no less delicious because in addition to being able to warm it can also increase body stamina for all day activities.

Bir pletok has a unique taste with its sweet and slightly spicy and fragrant aroma. Bir plethok is safe for adult or small children. Currently, bir plethok is often referred to as Javanese beer and is still a favorite drink of the Betawi people, even in Bogor and surrounding areas.

Curious with the tastes? You can make it yourself at home.  Here’s the recipe for Jamupedia-style bir plethok:


  • 250 g ginger
  • 30 g cinnamon
  • 3 g nutmeg
  • 3 g cloves
  • 3 g pepper
  • 3 g lemongrass
  • 3 g cardamom
  • 7 daun pandan (Screwpine leaves)
  • 6 lime leaves
  • 1 kg sugar
  • 6 liters of water
  • Kayu secang (sappanwood, Biancaea sappan), to taste and as a natural red dye

How to make:

  1. First, wash all the ingredients. Then crush ginger, pepper, nutmeg, cardamom, and lemongrass.
  2. Heat water in a saucepan over medium heat. Afterward, add the pandan leaves, lime leaves, cinnamon, and cloves.
  3. Add sugar little by little while stirring until dissolved.
  4. Add enough sappanwood to change the color naturally until the color turns red or dark red brown.
  5. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, and occasionally taste the brew. If the taste is to your taste, it’s ready to serve.
  6. Serve the bir plethok while it is warm.