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  • Writer's pictureJohn B. Reyna

Getting Drunk with a Bénédictine Monk

Updated: Dec 12, 2020

For those of you who enjoyed our Chartreuse post, we are returning to Catholicism to learn about another liqueur that Catholic monks created. Don’t worry; we are not getting religious on this blog. Still, you can’t ignore the incredible Catholic contribution to the alcoholic beverage world. For example, Dom Perignon, a Bénédictine monk, invented méthod champenoise, which is the production method for Champagne. But we'll discuss Dom Perignon another day.

For today’s post, we are heading back to France to hang out with more Catholic monks, but this time the Bénédictine Order. In 1510, Bénédictine monk Dom Bernardo Vincelli distilled an elixir out of twenty-seven different herbs, roots, and spices at the Abbey of Fécamp in Normandy, France. The Bénédictine monks continued to make the secret elixir at the Abbey of Fécamp until the French Revolution arose (1789-1792). Sound familiar?

During the French Revolution, the Abbey was destroyed and the monks fled France. However, the last surviving monk of the Abbey gifted the Abbey’s scriptures and books, which included Dom Bernardo Vincelli’s elixir recipe, to various benefactors for safekeeping. The Le Grand family was the lucky recipient of the elixir recipe as well as other books.

The Abbey's books were hidden and forgotten for almost a century. Then, in 1863, Alexandre Le Grand discovered a book on alchemy that included Dom Bernardo Vincelli’s elixir recipe. In 1864, Le Grand trademarked Bénédictine and incorporated the Bénédictine monks motto: Deo Optimo Maximo (God infinitely good, infinitely great). Today, the liqueur is sold as Bénédictine D.O.M.

Bénédictine D.O.M. has a rich, copper color. It has flavors and aromas of citrus, pine, honey, and almonds. It weighs in with 40% ABV so it holds its own in a cocktail. But it is smooth enough to drink straight over ice.

I'm thirsty. Let’s makes some drinks!


2 oz dry vermouth

1 oz Bénédictine D.O.M.

3 dashes absinthe

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass. Fill with ice. Stir.

Strain the mixing glass contents into a chilled coupe.

Next up . . .

Bobby Burns

2 oz scotch

¾ oz sweet vermouth

½ oz Bénédictine D.O.M.

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass. Fill with ice. Stir.

Strain the mixing glass contents into a chilled coupe.

Bobby Burns has an interesting history itself. Difford’s Guide provides a detailed post, we recommend reading if you want a bit more history on “one of the very best whisky cocktails.

In our New Orleans cocktail post, we created a Vieux Carré, which uses Bénédictine D.O.M. That cocktail is definitely worth trying if you haven’t already.

Lastly, I want to give a shout out to my mom. A few years ago, she gifted me a fantastic book that showcases Catholicism’s contribution to the beverage world. The book, Drinking with the Saints, provides cocktail recipes for every Holy Day. There are a lot of Holy Days so there are a lot of cocktail recipes. It’s a fun read, even if you are not religiously inclined. My mom knows me so well! Thanks, mom.











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