2 oz Bourbon <Woodford Reserve>
3/4 oz Benedictine
1/4 oz St. Germain
Few dashes Peach Bitters * <Fee Bros.>
Stir with ice, strain into an ice filled rocks glass
* When I first made this drink, I didn’t use any bitters. However, I’ve come to realize most bitters work pretty well with it, so use whatever you have on hand. Or use none at all.
News flash: I love brown spirits. You can give me all the whiskies, and I’ll be just fine. And don’t stop there. Cognacs and brandies are always welcome in my home. Maybe that’s why I love Benedictine so much. Combine this liqueur with any brown base spirit, and you’re almost guaranteed a delicious drink.
Benedictine is one of those liqueurs where the recipe is a closely guarded secret. Generally speaking, it’s made from a cognac base with around 27 or so herbs and spices. Purportedly only three people know the entire recipe at any one time. Despite it’s monkish name, Benedictine was not started in some secluded abbey in central France. Instead, it was started by wine merchant and industrialist (what a great title) Alexander le Grand. He was from Frecamp in Normandy, and created the monk based back story as nothing more than a marketing ploy. Mission accomplished, good sir.
The flavor is is full of warm fall and winter spices. Cinnamon, cloves, toffee, even some cola like flavors bubble up at different times. No wonder it gets a long so well with whiskies and brandies and the like. You may have even had it in classics like the Vieux Carre, Frisco Sour or the Singapore Sling (works with clear spirits too!).
The inspiration for this week’s drink is the Kentucky Colonel. A straight ahead cocktail of 2 parts Bourbon, 1 part Benedictine. I love this drink. Stiff and packed with flavor, it makes a great night cap. Sometimes though, I want something just a little lighter. So one day I decided to cut the Benedictine part with some St. Germain, bringing a more floral character to the drink. It’s amazing how a small amount of this elderflower liqueur can have such a big impact on a drink with strong personalities.
Don’t get me wrong, the Kentucky Sergeant still packs a punch. But where the Colonel is all uppercuts and right hooks, the Sergeant is all about jabs and body blows. No one sip will knock you off your feet, but you’ll feel it by the end of the glass.
Caramel and toffee from the bourbon mix with blossoms from the St. Germain on the nose. Benedictine’s spices are still assertive on the sip, but the body is even thicker than in the original, which softens some edges. The swallow brings some heat from the bourbon, and but the new found lightness accentuates the herbal character on the way down.
Since this is a lighter version of the Kentucky Colonel, I turned to a military rank chart to come up with a name. A colonel is about the middle of the pack when it comes to commissioned officers. Looking at the enlisted troops, a Sergeant falls in at about the same place, relatively speaking. So, Kentucky Sergeant, report for duty!