Bénédictine liqueur came about by the efforts of a 16th-century benedictine monk Dom Bernado Vincelli and the Abbey of Fécamp of Normandy, France. These fine men worked for years with an assortment of local herbs and oriental spices to obtain the perfect taste. They later sweetened this spirit with honey. Thus, benedictine liqueur history is rich with centuries worth of experiments and improvisations.
Bénédictine liqueur is a popular drink these days. It is pretty common in bars and a huge component of cocktails. Moreover, outside bars, it even finds its use in the kitchen. Its derivative benedictine dom is considered a cure for numerous ailments in Malaysia.
However, despite its popularity, it is uncommon to find this ingredient shelved at local grocery stores. So if you can’t get your hands on it or are looking for something with similar taste, I have a list of the best bénédictine substitutes.
But before we start, let’s get to know the particulars of this liqueur first.
What is the flavor of Benedictine?
Bénédictine liqueur taste is rather undefinable owing to its truly unique flavor profile. Therefore, it is slightly difficult to describe its taste accurately. None of the constituting botanicals dominate in taste, and it is unlike any medicinal product too. On the contrary, it possesses the sweetness of organic honey and the bite of holiday spices, stone fruits, with a faint accent of herbs.
What spices are in Benedictine?
The original Bénédictine liqueur recipe contained up to 27 spices. Yet only 21 spices are known currently, and the remaining six continue to be a commercial secret. The publicly known herbs and spices include juniper, vanilla, myrrh, saffron, cardamom, mace, fir cones, aloe, angelica, lemon balm, arnica, tea, coriander, thyme, clove, lemon, orange peel, cinnamon, honey, nutmeg, and red berries.
Is Benedictine a digestif?
Yes, bénédictine is a digestif. However, it is not bitter like the ferrets; neither does it have a medicinal taste. On the contrary, Bénédictine liqueur has a rich, warm and sweet flavor since it is made from honey and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.
6 Liqueurs You Can Use Instead of Bénédictine
Bénédictine liqueur may have a unique taste, but this doesn’t mean you can’t substitute it. Although, most drinks won’t mimic the exact flavor. It’ll be enough, and with some improvisation, you’ll get ideal results. Here are seven liqueurs you can use instead of Bénédictine:
Whenever I think of substituting bénédictine liqueur, Drambuie is the first liqueur that comes to my mind. Made from an assortment of spices, herbs, honey, and Scotch whiskey, this golden-colored liquid is surprisingly sweet and warm. Both Bénédictine and Drambuie are dark, honey-sweetened herbal liqueurs.
Although, they are considerably dissimilar in taste. Bénédictine is a neutral spirit with subtle notes of honey. Meanwhile, Drambuie possesses an overpowering blend of scotch and honey. Saffron is a common ingredient, but that is all we know of their herbal similarities.
Drambuie liqueur is medicinal with accents of grass, licorice, and orange peel. However, this benedictine substitute leaves some room for creativity, and you can improve its taste by adding a few ingredients of your own too. Drambuie works exceptionally well as a benedictine substitute in Singapore sling.
Drambuie is bolder in taste than bénédictine liqueur. It is perfect for cocktails, cooking, and desserts. Don’t hesitate to experiment with it, because how else will you get the perfect result?
2. Yellow Chartreuse
Not unlike Bénédictine liqueur, Chartreuse is yet another popular French liquor made from a complex mixture of numerous herbs. Its yellow variety with 40% alcohol is closest to Bénédictine liqueur in taste. However, you might find it a tad sweeter than Bénédictine. You can also use this benedictine substitute in Vieux Carre.
Yellow Chartreuse possesses traces of citric, honey, violet, saffron, anise, and licorice. Therefore, in terms of the herbal bouquet, it is your best bet. You can use it in most things that call for Bénédictine liqueur, especially desserts. However, remember to decrease the amount of sweetener in your original recipe. Moreover, yellow Chartreuse is an excellent dom benedictine substitute too.
Its other type, Green Chartreuse, has a higher 55% alcohol and a much bolder flavor. Thus, reduce its quantity when using it as a substitute. Moreover, both yellow and green chartreuse work wonders for savory foods.
3. Dom Bénédictine B&B
The best substitute, however, is a new bottle of Dom B&B. This will give you the closest Bénédictine liqueur taste. You may be wondering why it is that? The answer is because Dom Bénédictine B&B is a blend of about 60 percent original Bénédictine while the rest is Cognac.
Although it has relatively weak floral, herbal, and spice notes, you’ll barely notice it in pasta and desserts.
You may be wondering why it is on number 3 if it is that great, right? The biggest drawback of this Bénédictine substitute is its expensiveness. Bénédictine liqueur price is the same as our substitute. This can be quite a hindrance when you are looking for the perfect alternative.
Italicus combines a melange of citrus, flowers, and herbs such as bergamot peel, chamomile, Cedro lemons, yellow roses, lavender, etc., with a neutral spirit. Italicus is a well-balanced drink. It does not have overpowering flavors, nor is it too sweet.
Because of the qualities mentioned above, it fills the shoes of Bénédictine liqueur in various cocktails perfectly.
Since Italicus isn’t overwhelmingly sweet, you’ll probably want to splash a bit of some sweet syrup, whatever you have at hand, when replacing Bénédictine liqueur in cocktails or dessert cooking.
This substitute works well in cooking. Although, I wouldn’t recommend this Bénédictine substitute for drinks, especially cocktails. But when it comes to sugary and savory dishes, you’ll be surprised by the wonders a bottle of cheap brandy can do.
Brandy is extremely versatile alcohol. It is made by distilling wines and contains about 60 percent alcohol.
There are different kinds of brandies too. But you can alternate one for another. Brandy is especially good in puddings, chicken mushrooms, flambéing, and pasta with prawns.
If you have nothing else, you may use Amaro as a substitute for Bénédictine. However, remember this is always a last resort. Amaro is a herbal liqueur but with lots of bitterness. But it is still sweeter than Ramazzotti, Nonino, and Luciano. You can use it as a substitute for Bénédictine in a Vieux Carre cocktail.
7. Other Substitutes
Amaro is not for cooking. So if you want a cooking spirit, then you can try Glayva or Grand Marnier. These are certainly better options. Although, you can bet on Jägermeister for grilling and seafood too.
For that matter, Jägermeister is entirely vegan and not a product of deer blood, as most people believe. It combines 56 herbs such as licorice, saffron, anise, poppy seeds, ginger, and ginseng.