Now, actually that may be a trick question. Because the aforementioned Bénédictine beverage, while often thought to be created by Benedictine monks from centuries long ago, is now often attributed to being developed by Alexandre Le Grand in the 1800s. Le Grand supposedly invented both the story and the blend (with the help of a local chemist) to connect the liqueur with the city’s history in order to boost sales.
The claim? That monks had created the original medicinal herbal recipe in Normandy’s Benedictine Abbey of Fécamp for years until the abbey’s devastation at the hands of the French Revolution. This infamous blend of herbs and spices, which boasts a higher alcohol content than wine, was said to have been developed anywhere from the 1500s-1700s and supposedly sources from nearly 30 different botanicals, including angelica, hyssop, juniper, saffron, arnica and cinnamon. An intriguing story that made a good sound bite and, let’s face it, probably encouraged the devoted to enjoy an extra bottle or two… it must be good to drink a beverage created by a monk, no?
And many continue to believe it. Even the company’s own website perpetuates the legend. Regardless of what is myth or fact, Bénédictine is surely a heavenly elixir. With a distinct, intensely sweet taste from its mix of herbs and roots and sugar, Bénédictine offers a complex flavor profile that is sure to delight those that try it. It also pairs exceedingly well with a variety of other liquors (everything from gin to bourbon and cognac), making it a versatile drink for any bar. It can be used in a wide range of cocktails, including the Frisco, the Derby, the Monte Carlo, Singapore Sling, Cornell Special, Jubilant, and Vieux Carré.