Some more monks enter the scene.Posted: October 9, 2011
I’m back to write about some new friends for the old bottles in my liquor cabinet. And wouldn’t you know it, they’re another bunch of monks. In addition to the great Carthusian monks that make Chartreuse, my cabinet is now home to my latest addition, the Benedictine liqueur, originally made by the monks at the Benedictine abbey in Normandy, France. While Benedictine is not made up of as many herbs as Chartreuse, it is made from 27 different herbs & spices, and its recipe dates back to more than 500 years ago. But don’t be mistaken, other than its ties to monks from centuries ago and its wonderful use of herbs and spices, there is no other similarities between the two wonderful liqueurs. Benedictine is a strong, 80-proof sweeter liqueur. I first heard of Benedictine because of the drink called the Bobby Burns (scotch, sweet vermouth and Benedictine). For quite some time, I’ve wanted to obtain my own bottle, and now, just in time for the colder months, I have my own. I actually haven’t made a Bobby Burns with it yet, but have experimented a little with two very top-notch cocktails featuring the liqueur – the Monte Carlo and a Vieux Carre. In addition to these two cocktails featuring Benedictine, I’ve thrown in a random, unassociated cocktail called the Millionaire, a rye whiskey drink that uses an egg white, eggs being something rather new for me to use in drinks. While I didn’t care for the Millionaire all that much, the two Benedictine drinks are up there among some of my favorite drinks I’ve ever made. Enjoy…
This is one of my new favorite drinks! I love drinks that have just a couple or a few ingredients, quick and easy to make, that are just simple and good. The Manhattan for example, one of my favorite drinks, and this drink reminds me very much of a Manhattan, but quite different tasting. Just 2 main ingredients with some bitters – simple and perfect! Here’s a drink that’s perfect in the evening time, when you come home from a hard day at work. It’s no fuss at all to make, and it’s a soothing, stiff drink. It’s got the kick of rye, with the sweetness of the Benedictine that’s reminiscent of the vermouth in a Manhattan, with the nice taste of bitters, and the refreshing zing of the lemon twist. It’s a very well-crafted, simple cocktail. I highly recommend it!
2 oz. rye whiskey
3/4 oz. Benedictine
1 dash of Angostura bitters
1 lemon twist for garnish
Stir well with ice, and then strain in to a chilled cocktail glass
(“The Art of the Bar”)
Here’s another really nice drink featuring Benedictine, the Vieux Carre. I first tried this drink at my local bar, Sanctuaria, and then later recreated it at home using my new bottle of the Benedictine. I don’t typically make a lot of drinks on the rocks, but more and more I’m becoming fond of these drinks. And the Vieux Carre is a good one to add to my rotation. It’s got a lot of different flavors going on in the mix – brandy, rye, vermouth, Benedictine, and even two kinds of bitters. It’s another stiff drink with a refreshing note because of the sweetness of the brandy, Benedictine, Peychaud’s bitters and vermouth. It’s another really nice stiff drink. I guess that’s another selling point of Benedictine for me… Just like Chartreuse, it’s a liqueur with a high alcohol content. Not nearly as alcoholic as Chartreuse, but high enough so that it gives a cocktail a real kick.
3/4 oz. brandy/cognac
3/4 oz. rye whiskey
3/4 oz. sweet vermouth
1/4 oz. Benedictine
1 dash Peychaud’s bitters
1 dash Angostura bitters
Garnish with a lemon twist
Stir well with ice, then strain in to a rocks glass with ice.
This cocktail’s kind of a strange one to me. For one, there’s a few different recipes out there for drinks all called a “Millionaire”. All the different recipes refer to this drink as an old classic, but the recipes are about as different from each other as night and day. I generally find a drink that sounds good to me in a book or online somewhere. Before I make it however, I usually look up a few other recipes online to kind of see the variations of different recipes and look for the one that sounds best to me. Usually I find small variations, that probably don’t even make that much difference, but still, one may sound better to me than another due to one using more or less of a particular ingredient. So anyways, I looked up this drink, comprised of rye, triple sec and egg white, and was surprised to find other recipes (still referred to as an old classic) that don’t feature any of these ingredients, but instead call for sloe gin, apple brandy and rum! There apparently is two old classic drinks, both called a Millionaire, that are two completely different drinks! If anyone knows the story behind this, let me know, because I’m very interested in hearing what it is. So anyways, below is a recipe for what perhaps some people call a Millionaire. It’s completely different from what some other people also call a Millionaire. Either way, at the end of the day, whether this is the true Millionaire cocktail or the other one is, or there’s two drinks with the same name, I didn’t care for this drink all that much. It did not have a strong taste of anything really, but rather a cooled down, light taste of rye, with a frothy and silky texture. There weren’t really any other strong flavors jumping out in the drink either, but just a light silky, watered-down taste of rye. I don’t know if it’s because this is a really old drink, and perhaps it has not stood the test of time due to Americans’ tastes having possibly changed over the years or not, but it does seem to have a very “old fashioned” sensibility about it, kind of like an egg cream drink. An egg cream drink was quite a treat for people back in the day, but to me it’s just not that flavorful. But people used to really enjoy it. This is what I imagine is the case with this drink. I don’t know… maybe it’s just me, but I’m not a big fan.
2 oz. rye whiskey
1/2 oz. triple sec
1-2 dashes grenadine
1/2 oz. egg white
Shake vigorously for about 60 seconds (because of the egg white), and then strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.