Black Monk


Drink number two of this month’s Mixology Monday series is a cocktail that is decidedly younger than the first cocktail of my series. As a matter of fact, it’s only two days old.

It’s funny how the weather can put you into a certain mindset. As you know, Mixology Monday this month has the theme of Brandy. What you don’t know, is that not only was my post previous to yesterday’s MixMo post about brandy, but I was also working on three other cocktails with brandy as an ingredient. Heck I didn’t even realize that I was focusing on this ingredient until MixMo reared its ugly head and made me step back from the picture to take note of what I was doing. Cold weather and brandy, who knew? (OK, all of you knew, but still…)

The drink that I was creating for our new menu at Vessel was sort of my own personal snub of the nose at the Washington State Liquor Board. In their wisdom, they’ve decided to take Benedictine of the shelves in favor of B&B. As most of you know, if you wanted to make B&B, it wouldn’t be a problem if you had Benedictine, but try making Benedictine out of B&B. Not as easy, is it? And what if you want your B&B to be a little less sweet? Well, you would add brandy, but it still wouldn’t be quite the same, as you now have a B&B&B, as the odds of you using the same brandy as our good monks is about as likely as the chance that I’ll be seeing one of them in heaven (I’ve been a very naughty boy).

So long story short, I’m going to ensure that I’ll always have at least two drinks on the menu with Benedictine, and it will be a cold day in hell before B&B will ever grace the shelves of my bar (I’ll let you know when that day comes, as I figure that I’ll be stuck as either a weatherman, lawyer or car salesman when I’m down there).

Without further ado, I give you the:

1 ½ oz Cognac
½ oz Benedictine
½ oz lemon juice
4 brandied cherries
3 dashes Boudreau’s cherry bitters
1 dash Fee’s Aromatic bitters
(sub 3 dashes Angostura for both bitters if no cherry bitters)

place all ingredients in mixing glass
muddle cherries
add ice and shake
fine strain into a chilled cocktail glass

What do I mean when I say fine strain? Why it means that instead of just using your Hawthorne strainer, you pour the liquid through a second strainer (a tea strainer works well) ensuring that all extra food bits and ice chunks remain separate from your final product.

This drink immediately reminds me of the classic of classics, the Sidecar, but much with more complexity. For some reason cherries and Cognac always connect me to winter, which is why this combination came to mind while testing out new drinks for the menu.

As for the name of this libation, monks of the Benedictine Order were more commonly known as black monks, and I found it as good of a time as any to finally use the moniker.

There you have it, drink two of three for Mixology Monday! (Tuesday?)

Picture and drink by:
Jamie Boudreau