May 12, 2006

À votre santé!

The history of the famous Bénédictine liqueur began during the Renaissance when a Venetian monk at the Abbey of Fécamp, Dom Bernardo Vincelli, created an elixir from twenty-seven plants and spices from the four corners of the globe. This elixir was highly regarded in the court of King François I. It was produced by the Benedictine monks up until the end of the 18th century.

However, in the turmoil of the French Revolution, the recipe was almost lost forever. In 1791, a Fécamp notable bought the 16th century manuscript containing the encoded formula for the elixir. In his ignorance of the secret the manuscript held, he put it away in his library and forgot about it.

In 1863, Alexandre Le Grand, a distant relation of the Fécamp notable, came across the document by chance and discovered the secret recipe. He succeeded in deciphering the formula for the liqueur, and began production, giving the elixir the name Bénédictine.

The liqueur quickly became popular: by 1873, nearly 150,000 bottles were being sold each year. In 1882, Alexandre Le Grand commissioned a unique palace-museum, "Le Palais Bénédictine", in Fécamp to house the distillery where the famous liqueur is still made today.

Among the twenty-seven herbs and spices in the recipe:
aloes, myrrh, cloves, mace, tea, thyme, citrus, arnica, vanilla, saffron, nutmeg, ambrette, cinnamon, cardamom, hyssop, coriander, lemon balm, sandalwood.

There is even a suggestion of the flavor of toasted bread in the liqueur.

Before bottling, the elixir is aged in oak barrels that add other qualities to the flavor.

The complete list of ingredients and processes for making Bénédictine are guarded secrets. It may take more than two years to produce the liqueur from the raw ingredients.

"Orient Express"
1 measure of Bénédictine
1 measure of Cognac
3 measures of orange juice
Pour over ice in a glass and stir.
À votre santé!


The following link represents one attempt to replicate the authentic Bénédictine elixir.
Click HERE for it.

3 Comments:

Blogger Deo Gratias said...

That must be different from your "Bourbon" which doesn't have any taste !
;-)

Dunstan

3:32 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

"Bourbon" ... it has a French name, but apparently no taste if one is French.

I don't know the taste of Bourbon, since I don't drink hard alcohol.

4:24 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

Que Dieu bénisse les francophones qui me visitent électroniquement!

9:25 AM  

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