What On Earth is Dubonnet?

Wine pouring into glass
Photo by Kevin Kelly on Unsplash

The most important rituals in our life usually include food in some way. Birthday parties are associated with cake, as are weddings, and special occasions are marked with a toast. Following Queen Elizabeth’s passing, many have chosen to mourn the monarch with the aid of food and drink. 

The Queen was known to be fond of gin, and the simple combination with Dubonnet was known to be her favorite cocktail. The drink was something that Her Majesty inherited from the Queen Mother who was said to pack mini bottles of the liquors on journeys longer than 24 hours. 

In light of the Queen’s death, supermarkets and bottle stores have sold out of Dubonnet—a fortified wine that was invented in 1846 by a Parisian chemist named Joseph Dubonnet. The aperitif includes herbs and spices, such as blackcurrant and essence of tea varietals.

Mr. Dubonnet invented the drink as part of a competition by the French Government to find a way of persuading French Foreign Legionnaires in North Africa to drink quinine. Although quinine combats malaria, it is extremely bitter. As such, Dubonnet was created to disguise the taste. 

Apparently, the Queen enjoyed her signature cocktail before lunch, and preferred one part gin to two parts Dubonnet, accompanied by ice and a wedge of lemon.