With a rich heritage of 500 years since it was first created, Bénédictine is one of the world's oldest liqueurs. Originally used as a medicinal tonic and reviving elixir thanks to its intricate blend of 27 plants and spices - many of which were used to treat all kinds of ailments and conditions, Bénédictine is the ideal liqueur to consume after dinner as it is often referred to as a 'digestif'.
In France the 'digestif' is part of the whole dining experience. In the same way that an 'apéritif' is consumed before a meal, the 'digestif' is consumed at the end of a meal - and is believed to aid the digestion. In France it is widely thought that it is better to consume the 'digestif' when the stomach is full and better able to cope with spirits and liqueurs containing higher amounts of alcohol. Digestifs include drinks such as brandy, cognac and armagnac and some liqueurs - particularly those with natural ingredients such as herbs, spices, flowers and seeds. Consumption of a digestif at the end of a meal can make a dining experience a truly memorable occasion.
It is a custom that Bénédictine is perfect for!
The Singapore Sling is probably the most recognised cocktail of which Bénédictine is a key ingredient - this is a well known classic dating back to 1915 when it was first created by the bartender Ngiam Tong Boon at the famous Raffles Hotel in Singapore.
Unusually for in-the-spirit, rather than take you straight to our cocktail suggestions, we would strongly recommend that you try Bénédictine on its own or over ice to appreciate its rich and complex taste, before you experiment with it in a wide range of cocktails.
A classic serve of elegant simplicity to finish any gastronomic dining experience, Bénédictine on its own or over ice is served in the finest Michelin starred restaurants around the world.
Bénédictine is dark amber in appearance and has a full and fragrant aroma of plants and spices with hints of honeyed sweetness. To taste, it is rich, warming, smooth and soothing. Adding a little ice helps to release the complex aroma and everyone can detect a different fragrance whether it is vanilla, honey or one of the other numerous spicy ingredients. Click here to see how Bénédictine is made.
For our recommendations on Bénédictine, we have carefully selected some simple serves using the minimum number of ingredients which are ideal for enhancing that after dinner moment.
B & B is a traditional classic simply mixing 1.5 shots each of Bénédictine with Three Barrels Brandy. A rich and warming blend of spirits - perfect for sipping at the end of a good meal.
Béné 'n' Hot is a fantastic and easy to make after dinner drink. All you need are equal measures of Bénédictine and hot water served in a heat resistant glass. The hot water releases and enhances the liqueur to allow you to appreciate the full aromatic complexity of the plants and spices used to make it. If you prefer a slightly sweeter version, add a teaspoon of runny honey and gently stir in allowing it to dissolve. The classic Béné 'n' Hot was believed to have been invented by the East Lancashire regiment who were stationed in Northern France during the First World War and used this to keep themselves warm whilst in the trenches. They returned to Burnley, bringing the liqueur back with them and their appreciation of it has been passed down through the generations.
Hot Toddy French Style - this delicious cocktail is a variation on the traditional Hot Toddy recipe usually made with whisky where we have used Bénédictine as the key alcohol ingredient. Fix 4 cloves into the skin of a wedge of lemon and place it in a heat resistant glass. Add a shot of lemon juice, half a shot of runny honey, a dash of Angostura Bitters and the 2 shots of Bénédictine, then top up with hot water. With lovely warming tones as you taste it, this serve is bursting with herbal and spicy flavours. To garnish you can add a cinnamon stick which will add a hint of spiciness.
Old Fashioned Bénédictine - this serve contains 2 shots Bénédictine plus 2 bars spoons of sugar and plenty of ice. The cocktail itself is made very carefully, gradually mixing in the Bénédictine bit by bit once the sugar and Angostura Bitters are completely dissolved into the Bénédictine. The dilution of the ice and stirring is essential to the final taste of the cocktail. The method probably seems long winded but is vital to achieve the perfect Old Fashioned Bénédictine.