A Burnley working men’s club, whose members are famed as the world’s biggest drinkers of the French liqueur Benedictine, has launched a new cocktail – the “Bene Bomb.”
The golden tipple has been a favourite at the Burnley Miners’, in Plumbe Street, for more than a century.
It became popular among local soldiers who developed a taste for it during the First World War and drank it to keep warm.
The men of the 11th battalion of the East Lancs regiment found themselves based in Fecamp in Normandy where it is made and mixed it with hot water.
They returned home with their new-found love of Bene and hot and managed to get 18 bottles imported.
Since then the drink has become a best seller at the 600-member club which still sinks around 1,000 bottles a year.
Many of the older members round off their evenings with a Bene and hot while others take it with ice.
And now a new Bene Bomb version mixed with an energy drink has been created for the younger generation as the drink remains a unique local favourite.
Club secretary Mr Alan Kennedy said: “The soldiers used to drink it in the trenches and the hot water obviously kept them warm but it also made it last longer.
“When the lads made it back they all wanted Bene and hot so in November 1918 the club managed to get 18 bottles delivered.
“It was difficult to get hold of but they managed it in then end. I think they had to order more before Christmas so it went quickly.
“They also drink it in Colne, Nelson and Accrington because the soldiers came from those areas.
“I don’t know anywhere else that drinks Bene and hot but it’s the most popular ay to drink it here.
“Most of the members – about 60 to 70% – drink Bene and hot.
“A few would have Bene and ice and one or two will have a straight Bene at the end of the night.
“Most of the lads who come in here will finish with a Bene and hot at the end of the night.”
He added: “Some of the younger ones are drinking it now, the 30 and 40-year-olds, so it is still popular.
“We have just started selling the Bene Bomb – like a Jager Bomb except with a shot of Bene in the energy drink.
“We’ve only just started with it but I reckon it will be popular one.”
Describing the spirit’s unique taste, Mr Kennedy said: “It has a peculiar taste all of its own but I think it is a taste between brandy and whisky.
“It doesn’t have the heat of whisky and tastes sweeter. The hot water just makes it seem so palatable.”
The drink is so popular that the club even has a dedicated Benedictine room.
The recipe for the liqueur was invented in 1510 by a Benedictine monk, Dom Bernardo Vincelli.
The recipe is a closely guarded trade secret and is reputedly known to only three people at any given time.
The makers of Benedictine confirmed that the Burnley Miner’s Club was the largest consumer of the liqueur in the world.