From refreshing punches to complex, spirit-forward cocktails to elevated coffee cocktails, these lesser known but equally delicious cocktails that highlight Bénédictine are going to become your new obsession!
What is Bénédictine Liqueur?
Bénédictine is a French herbal liqueur made with 27 herbs and spices and sweetened with honey that’s best known for being a key ingredient in famous cocktails like the Vieux Carré, the Singapore Sling, and the Monte Carlo. Like many fancy French liqueurs, the Bénédictine recipe allegedly dates back to 1510 and is SUPER secret — only three people know the recipe at any given time.
The story of Bénédictine is also almost comical in its French-ness. It starts with a Bénédictine monk who created the recipe in the early 16th century at the Abbey of Fécamp. When the abbey was destroyed in the French Revolution, the recipe then passed to a man named Alexandre Le Grand (yes, really).
The whole monk narrative was nothing but a marketing scheme by Le Grand, but it intrigued the public, which proves a good story does sell. To bolster his mythical monk tale, Le Grand even named the liqueur “Bénédictine” and put the Bénédictine monk’s motto “D.O.M.” (Deo Optimo Maximo, or “To God most good, most great”) on the label.
Between now and today, the Bénédictine recipe has passed between many hands, but is presently owned by Bacardi. The herbal liqueur sits at 40% ABV, and a 750ml bottle costs between $35-$40 in the USA.
What Does Bénédictine Taste Like?
Even though the recipe for Bénédictine is a secret, we do know that it contains saffron, honey, tea, thyme, aloe, vanilla, cinnamon, orange peel, angelica root, mace, hyssop, arnica, coriander, lemon balm, fir cones, juniper, myrrh, berries, and nutmeg.
All of these herbs and spices contribute to the unique, complex flavor of the liqueur, but below is a more specific breakdown Bénédictine’s taste profile!
Appearance: Clear amber with hints of gold
Nose: Citrus, sweet honey, pine, and baking spices
Texture: Silky and velvety, but not overly thick
Taste: Spiced honey, citrus, clove, and saffron
Finish: Smooth with lingering honey, vanilla, and warm spices
What To Mix With Bénédictine
Bénédictine is delicious served neat or on the rocks, but it’s also a really versatile cocktail ingredient! Below are some of the more popular mixers/flavors to pair with Bénédictine.
Ultimately, Bénédictine is best in cocktails that use a combination of multiple ingredients, and this is definitely not an exhaustive list.
So let’s get to what we came here for and check out some deliciously unique Bénédictine cocktails!
To start off, we have a super refreshing cocktail that's wonderful for the summertime! Ingredients include equal parts brandy, bourbon, and Bénédictine, along with orange juice, lemon juice, and soda water. If you need an impressive and crowd-pleasing cocktail for a barbeque, this one is absolutely perfect!
This tasty cocktail is packed with festive apple flavor! Ingredients are rye whiskey, Bénédictine, Lillet Blanc, apple brandy, and Angostura bitters. It's wonderful for fall or whenever you're craving a complex, apple-forward cocktail!
Here's another rye whiskey-based cocktail that's perfectly balanced between bitter and sweet. Ingredients other than rye whiskey are Bénédictine, Cynar, and Averna Amaro. The sweet, herbal Bénédictine and bittersweet amaros balance and complement the spicy rye like a dream!
This creative drink would impress even your most cocktail-savvy of friends! To make it, you need black rum, Bénédictine, Amaro Montenegro, lime juice, and simple syrup. It's tropical, a little smoky, and has so much depth of flavor.
This cocktail is an innovative riff on a Singapore Sling made with gin, St Germain Elderflower Liqueur, Bénédictine, pineapple juice, and lime juice. It's a fruity, floral, and nuanced tiki drink that's wonderful for the spring or summer!
If you need an easy, elegant, and impressive punch for a bigger group, this one is absolutely perfect! Ingredients are cognac, Bénédictine, Luxardo Maraschino, simple syrup, and champagne. Combine all the ingredients in a punch bowl and top with the bubbles when ready to serve for a show-stopping punch!
This cocktail was allegedly named after a man who asked his wife to shine his shoes, and then proceeded to murder her in an inebriated stupor when she declined. Sooo the backstory is a little dark, but the drink itself is deliciously unexpected! Ingredients are Pastis, Bénédictine, Aperol, pineapple juice, lemon juice, and egg white. Garnish with a few drops of rose water for a super unique cocktail that's herbal, bittersweet, and tropical all at once.
This cocktail is basically a more herbal, elevated take on a margarita. It's also super easy to make and only requires 4 ingredients: tequila, Bénédictine, orange liqueur, and lemon juice. The Bénédictine adds a nice honey sweetness and herbal notes that make for a truly unique and nuanced variation on a marg!
I am FULLY obsessed with the flavors in this cocktail! It's made with Mr Black Coffee Liqueur, cherry spiced rum, Bénédictine, espresso, and chocolate bitters. The coffee liqueur and espresso bring out the nutty, chocolatey notes of the Bénédictine, while the spiced cherry rum adds a fruitiness that rounds it all out. YUM.
Here's another creative cocktail that leverages the delicious pairing of coffee and Bénédictine! Ingredients include Irish whiskey, Bénédictine, cold brew coffee, maple syrup, and egg white. So it's essentially a more elegant take on an Irish Coffee!
Who doesn't love a creative riff on an Old Fashioned!? I just have to say this one BLEW me away and if you love a good Old Fashioned, you have to try it! Ingredients are Amontillado Sherry, Bénédictine, aromatic bitters (like Angostura), black walnut bitters, and nutmeg for the garnish. Amontillado Sherry is dry, earthy, and nutty, so it works fantastically well with the Bénédictine!
This hot cocktail is truly a hug in a glass! The ingredients might sound a little strange, but I promise it's SO tasty. It's made with just milk and Bénédictine, with a cinnamon stick and orange wedge for the garnish. Perfect for chilly weather or whenever you want a unique, comforting drink!
Even if you aren't the biggest scotch fan, I'm willing to bet you'd still LOVE this cocktail. It's perfectly balanced between smoky, herbal, fruity, and bittersweet. Other than scotch and Bénédictine, ingredients include blood orange juice, honey simple syrup, and aromatic bitters.
I hope these creative Bénédictine cocktails gave you some inspiration to try something new! They all sound fabulous, and I’m excited to revisit a few of them myself (looking at you Peat Repeat 👀).
And if you have a Bénédictine cocktail that’s near and dear to your heart, please let me know in the comment section below so I can try it out!