Editor’s note: The Foxtail was originally created for and first appeared on the spring 2010 menu at Downtown Cocktail Room before currently being served at Rumor. The Foxtail is still a part of the DCR cocktail repertoire and is available for $10.
Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday, Bénédictine … The liqueur has just turned 500 years young, and its 27 secret herbs, seeds and spices don’t look a day over 200. While you might pick up lemon, mace, hyssop and cardamom as well as myrrh, coriander and cinnamon, the exact Benedictine formula is a closely guarded secret. Created in 1510 by Bénédictine monk Dom Bernardo Vincelli, the elixir continued to be made by Vincelli’s brethren until the end of the 18th century when it was nearly lost to history during the French Revolution. Hidden in a book, the recipe survived and was re-created in 1863.
“Bénédictine is an outstanding product,” Kunick says, “and it is no wonder that it is still in heavy use by today’s bartenders.”
Inspired by Bénédictine’s longevity, Kunick sought to create a complex, well-balanced cocktail. “Having a heavy dose of Bénédictine, it takes on a distinct herbal flavor profile with the grapefruit juice and zest oils cutting through the liqueur’s sweetness. This drink works with other gins with higher citrus notes, but Oxley seems to be the perfect match.”
To make the grapefruit twist, strip the fruit of its flesh and white pith, leaving just the naked peel. Naked, as in, just its birthday suit.
- 1 ounce Bénédictine
- 1 ounce Oxley gin
- 1 ounce white grapefruit juice
- Grapefruit peel for garnish
Combine ingredients in a tin with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Twist or bend the grapefruit peel to express a good amount of oil over the surface of the cocktail, then float the peel.
A bottle of Benedictine liqueur, left, and a 500th anniversary version.