Not to be confused with Eggs Benedict, Benedictine is a French herbal liqueur consumed worldwide in a variety of recipes. A crowd-pleaser since the 1500s, it’s a slightly bitter distilled spirit frequently used in everything from savory dishes to sweet desserts – and of course, a variety of classic cocktails.
So what’s a home chef or makeshift mixologist to do when they’re tasked with whipping up a famous drink or delectable dish that typically features this flowery addition, but alas, they’re fresh out of the famed ingredient?
Not to worry. Here are the top recommendations for when your hand-mixed libations and home-cooked concoctions are desperately in need of a satisfying (or at least sufficient) Benedictine substitute.
The Top 14 Best Benedictine Substitutes
Here are our favorite recommendations for picking a proper Benedictine substitute.
1. Dom B&B Liqueur
When you need something as close as possible in flavor to Benedictine, turn to B&B first! Dom B&B is a mix of 40% cognac and 60% Benedictine, making it the hands-down top contender to stand in for the herbaceous liqueur.
For obvious reasons, this ingredient shares many of the desired drink’s signature flavor notes, albeit a bit drier. Still, the difference in taste is mild and not normally noticeable in mixed drinks. It’s worth noting that this Benedictine substitute probably won’t be significantly cheaper. Still, it delivers a spicy punch, perfect for a makeshift Benedictine.
Among the best Benedictine substitutes, Drambuie is a dark, also honey-sweetened, similarly herbaceous liquid addition. Drambuie is a bit sweeter with a more scotch-whisky flavor to it, making it a little less neutral than the liqueur it’s standing in for. This Benedictine substitute works particularly well in woody or citrusy desserts, as well as in Vieux Carre and Monte Carlo cocktails.
Fans of Scotch whiskey probably prefer this solid Benedictine substitute. It brings the herbal qualities of the classic French ingredient together with bold notes of orange peel, oak, and anise seeds, giving it a slightly more medicinal and herby flavor. It’s a flavorful cocktail addition that can also make for a sweet treat when served straight on the rocks.
3. Chartreuse Liqueur
A fellow French liqueur, chartreuse contains a complex combo of spicy, herbal, and floral flavor notes. Yellow chartreuse, at 40% ABV, is the top chartreuse choice for matching flavor when choosing the right Benedictine substitute.
In cocktails like the Honeymoon or Frisco Sour, chartreuse tends to make the best Benedictine substitute. Both beverage elements boast honey as a sweetener, making this an ideal alternative for desserts and sweet drinks. Be aware that the green variety has a bolder flavor and higher alcohol content but works equally well in savory dishes like chicken- or seafood-based entrees.
Italicus has a balanced flavor without any overwhelming components. It’s not overly sweet but has subtle flowery, herbal, and citrus flavors. These features make it a great Benedictine substitute for most cocktails, including Aperols.
Since this versatile ingredient is not known for its sweetness, depending on the recipe, this Benedictine substitute may require an additional sweetener like sugar or simple syrup.
5. Licor 43
Vanilla and citrus lovers will be pleasantly surprised by the ability of Licor 43 to make a fantastic Benedictine substitute. It’s an interesting, flavorful liqueur that consists of 43 ingredients, which is unlikely to deliver the same exact flavors, but that doesn’t mean it will disappoint!
This complex ingredient is a bit bolder but still refreshing. It’s well-suited for cocktails like the Bobby Burns or Monkey Gland, and it’s recommended for use with super sweet dishes. Just be forewarned: Less is sometimes more with this sugary liqueur.
Normal brandy is a dependable drink addition that’s deservedly stood the test of time. Made from distilled wines, this liquor’s alcohol content ranges from 35-60%. If you’re using brandy as a Benedictine substitute, don’t skimp on quality.
Regular brandy works well as a Benedictine substitute in both sweet and savory recipes for drinks as well as dishes. It’s a particularly tasty pairing in pastas with prawns, desserts with puddings, and in anything you need to flambé.
Delivering a diverse combination of spices along with classic scotch flavor, Glayva is a complex and unique addition that provides a suitable Benedictine substitute, particularly when cooking.
It has a golden color and a flavor that includes hints of tangerine, honey, cinnamon, and almond. Applying this ingredient in lieu of the original liqueur can bring most recipes to life with a lovely depth of flavor.
8. Grand Marnier
A well-known staple used in an array of fan-favorite drinks, Grand Marnier makes an excellent would-be Benedictine whenever you’re in a bind. Grand Marnier is a useful Benedictine substitute for baking, too.
Depending on the dish or drink you’re dreaming of, Grand Marnier is a worthy Benedictine substitute that admittedly may not always provide the desired level of sweetness. As a result, whenever necessary, explore your options for additional sweeteners to successfully achieve all the layers of flavors you desire.
Jäger has a strong, licorice-like, almost medicinal tartness that’s slightly reminiscent of absinthe. The potent flavor combo also includes citrus and spices like saffron. It’s a rich, dark liquor with a distinctive taste and a sweet undertone.
Depending on the recipe that calls for a Benedictine substitute, Jägermeister may be the right option. It’s a powerful, syrupy drink that’s unlikely to go undetected, so less may be more when using Jäger as a Benedictine substitute.
10. Fernet Branca
A famed Italian liquor that includes dozens of roots and herbs aged for years in vats of oak, flavorful and aromatic fernet branca is sure to deliver an intense, bittersweet component to any recipe, making it a fair substitute for Benedictine.
Bitter orange notes, along with a variety of spices and herbs, equip this unique dark drink with a super-potent punch that’s best served in small portions. It’s a decent Benedictine substitute in most recipes, but always be sure to start small. After all, you can always add more; subtracting, however, is not an option!
Notably bitter Campari is a common cocktail component as well. With its cherry-red color and fruity, herbal flavor profile, it provides a Benedictine substitute well-suited for a variety of cocktails and cooking recipes alike.
Pro tip: Try pairing Campari with another top-tier liquor for a more layered, bolder combo that better compares to Benedictine.
12. Dolin Genepy Des Alpes
Take your cocktail mixing skills to the next level when you call on this sophisticated duo to form a unique and creative Benedictine substitute: Take three parts maraschino combined with one part Dolin Genepy des Alpes, and you’ll discover a sweet, rich flavor combination fit for royalty.
This flavor pairing impressively emulates the French liqueur’s famous flavors, making it a strong contender for whenever a reliable replacement is needed.
Traditional sake is a wonderful cooking ingredient and makes a suitable stand-in for this powerful herbal liqueur. However, it will probably fall short as a Benedictine substitute in drinks. When cooking, though, sake powerfully brings out sweetness thanks to its high starch content, making it a great addition to traditional stocks and soups.
This Japanese-derived drink varies in quality depending on the rice used to make it. It’s produced via a unique brewing process, not unlike beer production. This Benedictine substitute is especially useful when used to tenderize meat or marinate fish – it’s especially effective in removing a fishy odor when cooking!
14. Amaro or Pastis
Amaro and pastis tie as last resorts that can suffice in a pinch as viable Benedictine substitutes. Both are relatively bitter and perhaps not the best stand-ins on their own. Combined with some other creative additions, however, they can make surprising contenders to form a passable Benedictine substitute.
Again, while both the bitter additions amaro and pastis can function as Benedictine substitutes, neither of these alternatives will truly do justice to the cognac-based French liqueur on their own. Still, when you have no alternative and simply must turn to a tolerable ingredient to tap in, amaro or pastis just might work as a Benedictine substitute.
Sometimes Benedictine isn’t readily available, or maybe it isn’t somebody’s preference, leaving you no choice but to improvise. Thankfully, now you have this handy go-to’s to turn to if you’re ever in a Benedictine-less bind.
Never let the call for this specific liqueur in a recipe prevent you from pulling out all the stops to shake it up and make it happen. Triumphantly celebrate craftily creating a convincing Benedictine substitute with any of these clever stand-in ideas.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some common questions about selecting the most appropriate Benedictine substitute.
What kind of liqueur is Benedictine?
The herbal liqueur Benedictine is a French-made, Cognac-based drink developed by monks that dates back to the 1500s. The historical beverage is used in a variety of food and drink recipes and is known for presenting a potent herbal bouquet.
What’s the meaning of an herbal bouquet?
An herbal bouquet is a descriptor most often applied to spiced, herbal flavor profiles. Herbal bouquets typically possess a wide array of aromas and flavors, most often achieved by mixing multiple complex ingredients.
This is very true for Benedictine, which is traditionally formulated with more than 26 different herbal and spiced components in combination with honey as a sweetener.
Can I drink Benedictine on its own?
Yes, Benedictine is a sweet treat all on its own or simply over ice! It’s true that Benedictine is well-known for providing a sweet and savory kick to sophisticated cocktails like Frisco Sours, Manhattans, Singapore Sings, and more.
And although Benedictine is popular in many mixed drinks and food recipes, it’s also wonderful to sip solo. Especially if you already know you like similarly strong, herbal liqueurs (like the various Benedictine substitutes on this list), then this French liqueur served up straight might be just the ticket for your next nightcap.
What does Benedictine taste like?
Benedictine is a flavorful French liqueur that’s best known for possessing a sweet, herbaceous bouquet. The spicy blend is cognac-based, so don’t count on the fruitiness of the brandy. Thus, spiciness and boldness, along with sweetness, are essential in determining the ideal Benedictine substitute for whatever you’re making.