Updated on 27 November 2020
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Having always been fascinated by mixology, we decided it was time to expand our drinks repertoire at a cocktail-making class at the Benedictine Palace in Fécamp, where we learnt how to make cocktails containing Normandy’s most famous liqueur.
Tour of the Museum
Arriving at the Benedictine Palace, we are met with the awe-inspiring sight that is this magnificent building that houses the original factory used to produce its eponymous liqueur. In the gran entrance hall we are met by our guide Elodie and set off on our tour of the fascinating museum showcasing the history of the palace and the monks who first established the Benedictine legacy. The ornate Gothic architecture iinside the palace is impressive and we discover a series of wonderful stained-glass windows recalling the story of the origins of Benedictine. One in particular features Alexandre Le Grand, a Fécamp wine merchant who found a lost recipe for a potent elixir dating back to 1510, created by a Benedictine monk, and decided to start producing this elixir for mass consumption, here at the palace.
After admiring the collections of Alexandre Le Grand, we head to a room dedicated to posters advertising Benedictine liquor. Alexandre le Grand built a real empire around this drink and mastered advertising and marketing techniques well ahead of his time. Our visit ends in the herbs and spices room, where some of the ingredients used to make the liquor are laid out for us to smell. No less than 27 plants and spices with a variety of scents from all over the world are used in the distillation of this liquor. However, Elodie confesses that the exact recipe remains a well-kept secret!
After this in-depth tour, it’s time to taste Benedictine. We follow Elodie to a room of the palace whose majestic decor gives the space a sanctuary-like feel and provides the perfect atmosphere for a a tasting and cocktail-making class. No experience is needed to enjoy Benedictine, just an open mind and a willing palate! Accompanied by Elodie, we discuss the different aromas and flavours.
Our first Benedictine Cocktails
The first cocktail we attempt is called Béné-Rinha, a cocktail made just from Benedictine and lemon. Our first task before creating our own concoctions is to familiarise ourselves with the tools provided: a measuring cup, strainer, mixing glass, and cocktail shaker. We cut lemons, add ice-cubes and Benedictine, pour the mixture into the shaker, shake it up and down like a pro, and step by step, we improve our cocktail-making skills! Then it’s time to pour and taste our cocktails and appreciate how the lemon and Benedictine mix harmoniously to make a refreshing, delicious drink.
This fantastic interactive workshop makes for a fun activity, perfect for people like us who are not afraid to get stuck in. Elodie teachs us all the tricks of the trade – how to muddle, mix, and whether to use ice cubes or crushed ice for a variety of different cocktails. All in all, this is the ultimate treat for any cocktail lover!
tHE Benedictine Palace
Situated in the town of Fécamp in the Seine-Maritime département, the Benedictine Palace was built by local wine merchant Alexandre Le Grand, and is home to both the Bénédictine liqueur distillery and a museum.
€20 / person for a tour and cocktail-making class
Open days 2020
Weekends and weekdays in the school holidays (check the website for more details and to book)
Tours and cocktail-making classes last between 75 and 90 minutes
Information may be subject to change