Some products we carry have simple beginnings, like a granola that’s conceptualized in a guest’s home kitchen. Others have a more flamboyant history. Three hundred years ago, alchemist Dom Bernardo Vincelli created the recipe for what is known today as Bénédictine. The recipe was lost for some time until Alexandre Le Grand, a collector of religious art, stumbled upon it. Today, workers distill and age Bénédictine in a French palace-cum-factory. Architect Camille Albert designed the palace to be Gothic and magnificent—but then it burned down 4 years later. It was rebuilt by a new architect, and is just as grandiose as before, with Gothic and Renaissance influences. Should you find yourself in Normandy, it’s certainly a sight to see.
As with most liqueurs, the recipe for Bénédictine is highly guarded, only known by a handful of people at one time. The distillers combine brandy with plants and spices from across the globe. Their website describes Bénédictine as having a “distinctive aroma of spices and citrus fruit, offering notes of crisp freshness, softened by a touch of honey.” Its unique flavor mixes well with other spirits, such as bourbon, vermouth and bitters. It’s also wonderful on its own, served neat or with ice.
Apparently today’s cocktail has quite a following, as many of our guests and staff members have been excited to see us sharing the Vieux Carré.
1/2 part of Rye whiskey
1/2 part of Cognac
1/2 part of sweet vermouth
1 bar spoon Bénédictine
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Combine all ingredients in a rocks glass, add ice cubes, stir and serve.