Dubonnet Cocktail Recipe

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Dubonnet Cocktail Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Dubonnet Cocktail has a rich history dating back to the 19th century. It was created by Joseph Dubonnet, a French chemist, who wanted to make quinine more palatable for French Foreign Legion soldiers fighting malaria in North Africa. The cocktail quickly gained popularity among the French aristocracy and later became a favorite of Queen Elizabeth II.

  • The Dubonnet Cocktail is a classic aperitif, perfect for stimulating the appetite before a meal.
  • It's often associated with sophistication and elegance, making it a popular choice for upscale events and gatherings.
  • The cocktail has inspired many variations over the years, but the original recipe remains a timeless classic.

How Dubonnet Cocktail Tastes?

The Dubonnet Cocktail offers a delightful balance of flavors, with a slightly bitter, herbal taste from the Dubonnet, complemented by the sweetness of the gin and the zesty notes of the lemon twist. It's a smooth, refreshing, and complex cocktail that leaves a pleasant, lingering aftertaste.

Interesting facts about Dubonnet Cocktail

  • Dubonnet is a fortified wine-based aperitif, infused with herbs, spices, and quinine, which gives it its distinctive bitter flavor.
  • The Dubonnet Cocktail is sometimes referred to as the 'Queen's Cocktail,' as it's a well-known favorite of Queen Elizabeth II.
  • In the 1930s, the Dubonnet Cocktail was often served with a splash of soda water to create a lighter, more effervescent version of the drink.


  • Dubonnet: 2 oz(60ml)
  • Gin: 1 oz(30ml)
  • Lemon twist: 1
  • Orange bitters: 1 dash
  • Ice: As needed

A few good options for Dubonnet Cocktail are:

  • Brockmans
  • Silent Pool Gin
  • Hendrick's Gin

Learn everything on which Gin to choose

Dubonnet: 2 oz

  • Dubonnet is a sweet, wine-based aperitif infused with spices and herbs, providing a luscious, fruity backbone with a touch of quinine bitterness. Going over 2 oz may overpower the delicate balance with gin. If you skimp, you'll miss out on the body and complexity it brings.

Emma Rose

Gin: 1 oz

  • Gin introduces juniper and other botanical flavors, creating a complex and intriguing profile. The gin acts as a robust counterpoint to the Dubonnet, ensuring the drink doesn't lean too sweet. Too much gin and you'll think you're kissing a pine tree; too little, and you're just sipping spiced wine.

Alex Green

Lemon Twist: 1

  • The lemon twist imparts a zesty citrus aroma which lifts the drink, providing a bright contrast to the heavier Dubonnet. Without it, you'd lose that sunny disposition every cocktail aspires to. Lemon's a star, but don't go squeezing a whole one in there—you want a flirty hint, not a sour scowl.

Mary Mitkina

Orange Bitters: 1 dash

  • Just a dash adds complexity and a subtle spicy note that ties the drink together. Go without, and the cocktail feels like a sentence without a full stop. But don't get too heavy-handed, or you'll end up in bitter town.

Emma Rose

Ice: As needed

  • Ice chills the ingredients, ensuring the cocktail is crisp and refreshing. It also dilutes the mix slightly, which can help to mellow the flavors. No ice, and you've got a lukewarm handshake; too much, and you'll drown the spirit of the drink, literally.

Alex Green

Recipe. How to make Dubonnet Cocktail Drink

  1. Chill a cocktail glass by filling it with ice and water, then set it aside.
  2. Fill a mixing glass with ice.
  3. Add the Dubonnet, gin, and orange bitters to the mixing glass.
  4. Stir the mixture for 20-30 seconds, until well chilled.
  5. Empty the cocktail glass and strain the mixture into the glass.
  6. Garnish with a lemon twist, expressing the oils over the drink and placing it in the glass.

Pro Tips

  • Use fresh ice for the best taste and texture.
  • Stir, don't shake. This cocktail is best when it's stirred to maintain the clarity of the drink.
  • Express the lemon twist over the drink to release the oils and enhance the flavor.

Perfect Pairings


  • Charcuterie Boards: The richness of cured meats can be balanced by the herbal notes of the Dubonnet.
  • Cheese Plates: Especially those featuring semi-hard cheeses like Gouda or Comté, which will complement the botanicals in the gin.
  • Smoked Salmon: Its subtle flavors will be enhanced by the citrus notes from the lemon twist.
  • Spiced Nuts: A mix of almonds or walnuts would echo the warmth and spice from the orange bitters.


  • Dark Chocolate: A piece of dark chocolate can bring out the deeper, fruity notes of Dubonnet.
  • Lemon Tart: The sharpness of the dessert will mesh well with the brightness of the cocktail's lemon twist.

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What you could change in Dubonnet Cocktail

  • Dubonnet: Can be replaced with other fortified wines like Vermouth.
  • Gin: Try using vodka for a different flavor profile.
  • Orange bitters: Angostura bitters can be used as a substitute.

Explore all drinks starting with D here

And of course - twists🍹

Dubonnet Rosé Spritz

  • Swap Dubonnet Rouge for Dubonnet Rosé and add a splash of sparkling water. This version is lighter and effervescent, ideal for a summer afternoon.

Herbal Dubonnet

  • Muddle a sprig of thyme or rosemary in the mixing glass before adding the other ingredients. This twist adds an herbal fragrance to the cocktail, pairing fantastically with Mediterranean cuisine.

The Vermouth Swap

  • Replace Dubonnet with a sweet vermouth. You'll steer the drink into a more classic, Manhattan-esque experience, rich with herbal complexity and a less pronounced fruitiness.

In case you forgot basics how to make Dubonnet Cocktail

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Dubonnet Cocktail

What is the alcohol content of Dubonnet?

Dubonnet typically has a volume of 15-19% alcohol.

Is there a best time to enjoy a Dubonnet Cocktail?

The Dubonnet Cocktail is often enjoyed as an aperitif before meals, but it can be enjoyed at any time.

What does an aperitif mean?

An aperitif is a drink typically consumed before a meal to stimulate the appetite. They tend to be dry rather than sweet.

What are some other cocktails made with Dubonnet?

Other popular cocktails made with Dubonnet include the Blackthorn Cocktail, the Old Etonian, and the Dubonnet and Tonic.

What is the difference between red and white Dubonnet?

Red Dubonnet is sweet, while White Dubonnet is dry. Both contain 15% alcohol by volume.

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