Cecil Beaton, Queen Elizabeth II on her Coronation Day, 1953

How To Make the Queen’s Favourite Cocktail

Food & Drink /


Toast to Her Majesty with a Dubonnet and gin

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As the country moves from one era to the next, one way of paying our respect to the late Queen Elizabeth II 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

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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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Method:

  1. Add the spirits: gin first followed by Dubonnet, then add the half wheel of lemon, making sure it’s pip-free.
  2. Add two large chunks of ice carefully placed on top of the lemon to hold it down, just before serving.  
  3. 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