Dubonnet Cocktail

Queen Elizabeth Loved This Drink

Dubonnet cocktail in a glass with a lemon twist

The Spruce Eats / Madhumita Sathishkumar

Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 3 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 cocktail
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
110 Calories
0g Fat
2g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 110
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 137mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 8mg 39%
Calcium 10mg 1%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 30mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The delicious Dubonnet cocktail replaces the dry vermouth of a classic gin martini with Dubonnet Rouge, a rich, sweet fortified wine with quinine and aromatics. It's a cocktail that's designed to showcase the finest gin you have in the liquor cabinet.  While the original Dubonnet cocktail was ungarnished, now it's often served with a twist of lemon and sometimes an orange peel.

The Dubonnet cocktail was said to be a favorite of Queen Elizabeth II and her mother, who preferred it served on the rocks. Serve it in chilled cocktail glasses as an aperitif at your next dinner party to give your shindig a royal flair.

What Is Dubonnet Rouge?

Dubonnet was created in 1846 by Joseph Dubonnet, a chemist and wine merchant from Paris. Dubonnet designed his fortified red wine to help make bitter medicinal quinine more palatable. (Quinine, the key ingredient in tonic water, was a treatment for malaria.)

To the fortified wine and quinine, he added various herbs, spices, and peels—the result was ​Dubonnet Rouge, a rich aperitif that's slightly sweeter than the average sweet vermouth. Some drinkers find notes of orange, nuts, chocolate, and coffee in the flavor.

In addition to the Dubonnet Rouge, which is used in the Dubonnet cocktail, there's also Dubonnet Blanc, which is made with a white wine base. It's dryer than Dubonnet Rouge and is similar to dry vermouth.

Either variety of Dubonnet can be served on its own when well-chilled or as a spritzer when topped with sparkling water or club soda. You can also use them in any cocktail that calls for vermouth.

It's interesting to note that the Dubonnet sold in the United States isn't the exact same as what's sold in France and elsewhere in Europe. Dubonnet is produced by Pernod Ricard in France, while in the U.S., Dubonnet is produced by Heaven Hill.

"Very similar to the Martinez cocktail, with a few more rich notes such as coffee and dark fruit, the Dubonnet cocktail is perfect for a sunny afternoon or an aperitif cocktail." —Sean Johnson

Dubonnet cocktail in a glass with a lemon twist
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 1/2 ounces gin

  • 3/4 ounce Dubonnet Rouge

  • Lemon twist, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Dubonnet cocktail gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Madhumita Sathishkumar

  2. Pour the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice cubes.

    Dubonnet cocktail ingredients pouring into a mixing glass with ice cubes

    The Spruce Eats / Madhumita Sathishkumar

  3. Stir well.

    Dubonnet cocktail ingredients stirred in a mixing glass

    The Spruce Eats / Madhumita Sathishkumar

  4. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

    Dubonnet cocktail ingredients straining into a chilled cocktail glass

    The Spruce Eats / Madhumita Sathishkumar

  5. Garnish with the lemon twist. Serve and enjoy.

    Dubonnet cocktail garnished with a lemon twist

    The Spruce Eats / Madhumita Sathishkumar

Recipe Variation

If you switch the proportions of the two ingredients and use 1 1/2 ounces Dubonnet to 3/4 ounce gin, you will have a cocktail called the Queen Mother. It is a tribute to the royal family.

How Strong Is the Dubonnet Cocktail?

Notice that the Dubonnet cocktail is a very small drink. After straining, you will only have about 2 1/2 ounces to pour into your glass. It was designed that way because it is a potent little beverage, weighing in at around 29 percent ABV (58 proof).

Aperitifs of this strength are typically short because you don't want to be tipsy before the first course arrives, and it's likely this won't be your last drink of the meal.