An Unexpected Bene(dictine)fit of the Great War

Life during the Great War (aka) World War I was harsh.  Trench warfare was not for the faint of heart.  The heat and fury of war was broken by long slogs on freezing and/or wet boredom.  The 11th Battalion from East Lancaster, Britain were assigned to trenches near the Normandy Coast, where cold damp breezes swept in from the English Channel

One of the ways that the Lancastrians found to keep warm was to drink the locally prepared Benedictine.  According to Wikipedia

Bénédictine is a herbal liqueur beverage developed by Alexandre Le Grand in the 19th century and produced in France. Every bottle of Bénédictine has the initials D.O.M. on the label, which stands for “Deo Optimo Maximo” (“To God, most good, most great”). This abbreviation is commonly used at the beginning of documents of the Benedictine Order as a dedication of their work.

Gastro Obscura places the origin of Benedictine earlier.

The origins of Bénédictine date back much further than the Great War. It all began in 1510 when a Benedictine monk is said to have distilled an elixir of local herbs to raise funds for his abbey in Fécamp, France. Legend has it that the recipe was lost during the upheaval of the French Revolution, only to be rediscovered in 1860 by a wine merchant named Alexandre le Grand.

The Lancastrians became so fond of the liquor that they took it back home to England.  Even though the original soldiers have passed on, “(t)o this day, the Burnley Miners’ Club in Lancashire is one of the largest consumers of Bénédictine in the world. Their drink of choice? A 50/50 mix of Bénédictine and hot water, aptly titled the Bene’n’hot.”