With 8 September 2023 marking one year since the passing of the late Queen Elizabeth II, one way of paying our respect to our long-standing monarch is by mixing up her favourite drink: Dubonnet and gin.
The Queen grew up in a different age, when pre-luncheon cocktails were an everyday occurrence, being allowed to drink was a mark of being an adult, and getting just a little bit tight but remaining in control was a real social skill. But what was her drink of choice? Elizabeth II was known to love a Dubonnet, a French drink by Pernod Ricard which combines fortified wine with herbs and spices – so much so that she gave it a Royal Warrant in November 2021. She preferred a cocktail of two parts Dubonnet to one part gin, garnished with lemon.
Dubonnet and gin is a taste from another time, one of twinsets and pearls and being allowed to wear lipstick for lunch with mother. The Queen was a creature of habit, and it is rather wonderful to think that this fairly simple drink has been prepared and enjoyed all over the world, in many different circumstances, a faithful and perhaps reassuring touchstone in an incredible life.
Recipe: Dubonnet and Gin Cocktail
To the taste of Queen Elizabeth II
- 1oz gin (Gordon’s)
- 2oz Dubonnet
- Half a wheel of lemon
- 2 ice cubes or one large one – dropping the ice cubes in the glass on top of the lemon acted as a mixer
- Add the spirits: gin first followed by Dubonnet, then add the half wheel of lemon, making sure it’s pip-free.
- Add two large chunks of ice carefully placed on top of the lemon to hold it down, just before serving.
- The Queen would take hers in a small wine glass. At royal events cocktails were offered on a silver salver; only one gin and Dubonnet cocktail was prepared, and when the tray was offered everyone knew not to touch that one.
Main image: Cecil Beaton, Queen Elizabeth II on her Coronation Day, 1953