As I continue to indulge my weeks-long kick of pretending to be a fancy old lady, I think it’s time to turn our attention to the fanciest of all old ladies: Her Majesty The Queen. (I don’t know if that is how one officially refers to the queen. I’m not actually fancy, I just pretend to be on the Internet.)
Rumor has it that every afternoon the Queen partakes of a cocktail made with Dubonnet, an aperitif that’s basically a mix of fortified wine with herbs and spices and a bit of quinine. It’s a bit like a complex port, and while it’s definitely an acquired taste, it’s a taste that is fun to acquire. In my experience most things that taste awful at first sample wind up being downright addictive after one gets used to them. (The first time I tried Fernet Branca I thought I’d just taken a shot of NyQuil. Now it’s one of my very favorite after-dinner drinks.)
The Queen’s Dubonnet Cocktail
2 Parts Dubonnet
1 Part gin
Mix both those things together and serve over ice with a slice of lemon under the ice.
Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, reportedly drank one of these every day. Queen Elizabeth II’s cousin told the papers that the queen still has one every day before lunch. That sounds pretty fun, and the cocktail is exceptionally easy to make.
Another variation is the Dubonnet Cocktail or the Zaza, which is a little more involved but still pretty easy.
1 oz. Dubonnet
1 oz. gin
1 dash orange bitters
Shake all those things with ice and serve in an up glass (Martini glass) with a twist of lemon.
Dubonnet is an old-school sort of spirit that is currently a bit out of fashion and thus under-the-radar, which makes it a pretty good thing to order if you want to look fancy and discerning.