What is Benedictine?

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History and origin

Benedictine is a type of liqueur, that originated in France. It has been produced since the 19th century. It is prepared with a blend of herbs, spices, and fruit peels. They are then infused in alcohol for several weeks before being aged in oak casks.

Benedictine has gained popularity over the years due to its unique flavor profile and versatility in cocktails. In the 19th century, it was considered the most popular spirit in America and was used as a substitute. This liqueur was originally prepared by monks and they believed it had healing powers. Additionally, it could cure ailments such as stomach aches and colds.

This traditional French liqueur continued to grow globally with new variations being introduced such as spiced rum-based versions. Its rich history and unique flavor profile remained a beloved spirit till today.

Secret recipe

The Benedictine recipe is a traditional French liqueur made from a blend of herbs and spices. It includes angelica, hyssop, juniper berries, and saffron.


  • 1 liter of brandy
  • 20 grams of dried angelica root
  • 10 grams dried hyssop leaves
  • 5 grams dried juniper berries
  • A pinch of saffron threads
  • Sugar syrup for sweetness

How to prepare Benedictine

The following information is for knowledge purposes only.

  1. In a large glass jar or bottle, infuse the brandy with all the herbs and spices mentioned.
  2. Seal the lid tightly and let it stay in a dark place for at least two weeks to allow the flavors to infuse into the alcohol.
  3. After two weeks, strain out all solids using a muslin cloth.
  4. Add sugar syrup for taste until desired sweetness is achieved.
  5. Bottle up your homemade Benedictine liqueur and store it in a cool dry place.

This delicious herbal drink can be enjoyed as an after-dinner drink or used as an important ingredient in cocktails.

Flavor profile

The Benedictine flavor profile is complex and distinctive, with a rich combination of herbs and spices that create a unique taste experience. It is a combination of mixed sweet and spicy tangy flavors with a touch of bitterness.

Herbal ingredients like thyme, angelica, hyssop, juniper berries, saffron, myrrh, and lemon balm contribute to its earthy and aromatic flavor. Honey plays an important role in balancing out the bitterness of some of the herbs, thus adding subtle sweetness to the beverage. Dried spices like nutmeg and star anise are added and provide the drink a licorice-like flavor.


Key ingredients include:

  • Saffron – One of the most expensive spices and adds a rich yellow color and flavor.
  • Hyssop officinalis – This is an evergreen mint that provides a minty note to the beverage.
  • Angelica root – It is a medicinal plant that adds a medicinal touch to the drink.
  • Lemon balm – Lemon balm brings citrus notes to the drink.
  • Juniper berries – These berries are used in small amounts and add a tart-like flavor.
  • Myrrh resin – Myrrh resin not only adds depth to the flavor but also acts as a natural preservative for Benedictine. It is used in minimal amounts only.
  • Honey – Honey adds sweetness to the liqueur and overall balances the taste.
  • Nutmeg – Nutmeg is dried spices added to the drink to create an aromatic taste and is known to possess anti-inflammatory properties.

These ingredients are carefully selected and blended to create the unique flavor profile of this popular liqueur.

Some interesting facts

  • The original recipe for Benedictine is kept secret, but it is found to contain over 27 different herbs and spices.
  • The recipe for Benedictine liqueur was created in 1510 by Benedictine monk Dom Bernardo Vincelli in France.
  • The original name given to this liqueur was “Elixir of Charmel”.
  • Although a cocktail ingredient, it has been used medicinally throughout the ages because of its healing properties.
  • The bottle shape was inspired by an ancient Roman flask found on the grounds of the abbey where it was first produced.
  • Benedictine was used as a substitute when whiskey was banned in America. It became largely popular during those times.
  • King Henry IV drank Benedictine before the war because he believed it would provide him strength and courage.
  • This drink gained popularity as a magical drink for its ability to aid digestion and relieve various cold ailments.

Health benefits of Benedictine

  • It is used as a herbal supplement as it contains about 27 herbs and spices.
  • The nutmeg present in this benedictine liqueur may add to the anti-inflammatory properties.
  • The probable antioxidants present in nutmeg protect the cells from damage caused by free radicals.
  • It is thus believed to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
  • Benedictine provides possible pain-relieving effects for conditions like headaches or menstrual cramps.
  • Some compounds are found in Benedictine that have proved to enhance brain function and memory retention.

 Benedictine vs. Drambuie

Benedictine and Drambuie are two popular liqueurs that have been around for centuries.





Origin By Benedictine monks in France during the 16th century. In Scotland and dates back from the early 18th century.
Ingredients Thyme, angelica, hyssop, juniper berries, saffron, honey, myrrh, and lemon balm Scottish heather honey combined with whisky and various herbs.
Taste Profile Sweet Smoky flavor
Popularity Popular among bartenders for preparing cocktails. Popular in Scotland and is gaining popularity globally.


What kind of alcohol is Benedictine?

Benedictine is a type of herbal liqueur that consists of angelica root, hyssop, juniper berries, myrrh, saffron, and honey.

Can you drink Benedictine straight?

According to studies, benedictine was used as an ingredient in cocktails. It was not consumed straight as its flavors are quite strong.

Is Benedictine a whiskey?

Benedictine is used as a substitute for whiskey and mixed with cocktails to enjoy its richness of herbal infusion.


  • Benedictine is a type of liqueur, that originated in France.
  • It has been produced since the 19th century.
  • Prepared with a blend of herbs, spices, and fruit peels. They are then infused in alcohol for several weeks before being aged in oak casks.
  • It could cure ailments such as stomach aches and colds.
  • Benedictine provides pain-relieving effects for conditions like headaches or menstrual cramps.








Written By: Sushmita Mukhopadhyay