First off, I have to say that if there is ever a book town I want to live in, it’s Three Pines in Quebec. Mostly because I want to curl up in the cafe with a B&B – a brandy and benedictine and just watch all the interesting characters go by.
What’s the book world I’m infatuated with? It’s the world of Chief Inspector Armand Gamache – the creation of Louise Penny. Penny’s books are set between the fictional town of Three Pines and the metropolis of Montreal. The cast of characters are delightful – without a doubt, my favorite (after Gamache) is Ruth – the elderly poet with her duck, Rosa. And I’m not going to tell you what FINE stands for – you’ll have to read the series to figure it out. Safe to say, though, it’s how I feel many a day.
Of course, one of the other reasons I really love this series is the food and drink. Gamache eats (and drinks) really well. There are many descriptions of great dinner parties, not to mention all the croissants consumed at the B&B and cafe. I serial read three books over my break, which is probably why I didn’t spend nearly as much time cooking as I normally would.
One of the drinks referenced many times as an after dinner aperitif is a B&B or Benedictine and Brandy. I’ve had Benedictine lurking at the back of the liquor cabinet for awhile now. I’m not even sure why I bought it in the first place. And I always have a cheap brandy on hand for sangria. Note to self – it’s time to up my game on the brandy, as I think this would taste much better with a higher quality one.
Benedictine liqueur, by the way, is a secret blend of twenty seven distilled herbs and spices (three of which are Angelica, hyssop, and lemon balm). Benedictine has been around since 1510. A B&B is an easy combination of 1 to 1 Benedictine and Brandy, served over ice or served neat. I’m a lightweight these days, so I found that a B&B served neat was a bit overpowering. I opted to toss in some ice.
So the cocktail recipe this week is 1 ounce Brandy, 1 ounce Benedictine and some ice. I highly recommend sipping this with a little jazz on the stereo and a Louise Penny book in hand. Enjoy!