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*Recent ruminations from LUPEC Boston, as originally published in The Weekly Dig.

by Pink Lady

Happy 500th birthday, Bénédictine! This mysterious liqueur was invented by a monk named Dom Bernardo Vincelli, in 1510.

Vincelli, a member of the order of Saint Benedict in the French abbey of Fécamp, experimented in alchemy—more than the process of turning metals into gold, a lesser known application of alchemy involved developing secret elixirs that are thought to help prolong life. This is how Bénédictine was born.

Like another favorite monk-made elixir of ours, Chartreuse, the recipe for Bénédictine was nearly lost in 1789 during the French Revolution and was rediscovered in 1863 by wine merchant Alexandre Le Grand. While sorting through some old family papers, Le Grand discovered a recipe book that had fallen into his family’s hands decades earlier when the last monk to leave the abbey of Fécamp gave them several of their most precious books. These tomes had been collecting dust in the library, unnoticed for decades.

Le Grand spent a year decoding the recipe, but was eventually able to re-create the elixir Vincelli had invented so long ago. Bénédictine is a bewitching blend of 27 different plants and spices, all proprietary, of course, and it became popular in the 1880s.

LUPEC was thrilled to host Bénédictine’s 500th birthday party at Franklin Southie last weekend. If you missed it, you can raise a glass of one of these at home, toasting five centuries in pursuit of long life.

Old No. 27

2 oz Plymouth Gin

0.5 oz Bénédictine

0.5 oz Combier

1 dash Fee Bros orange bitters

1 dash angostura bitters

Combine ingredients in a mixing glass. Stir and strain into a chilled vintage cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange peel.

CIN-CIN!

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