Dubonnet (UK: /djˈbɒn/, US: /ˌdjbəˈn/,[1][2] French: [dybɔnɛ]) is a sweet, aromatised wine-based quinquina, often enjoyed as an aperitif.[3] It is a blend of fortified wine, herbs, and spices (including a small amount of quinine),[4] with fermentation being stopped by the addition of alcohol. It is currently produced in France by Pernod Ricard, and in the United States by Heaven Hill Distilleries of Bardstown, Kentucky. The French made version is 14.8% alcohol by volume and the US version 19%.[3] The beverage is famous in the UK for having been the favourite drink of Queen Elizabeth II and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.[5]

Dubonnet poster (1895)
1915 advertisement
Faded Dubonnet advertisement, Lautrec
Dubonnet advertisement, 1907 — Napoleon and Madame de Pompadour share a bottle. The caption, idiomatically rendered, runs something akin to this: (Napoleon Bonaparte to Mme. the Marchioness de Pompadour) ''My dear Marchioness, you must be perished with the cold. Do, pray, alight from your carriage and take a glass of Dubonnet. If, at the time, I had but had a few thousand bottles my retreat from Russia would have been metamorphosed into a triumphal procession!'' The scene is set during Fat Tuesday of carnival; hence the characters are disguised people roleplaying.

In November 2021, Dubonnet was awarded a Royal Warrant by Queen Elizabeth II.[6]


Four main ingredients are used:


Dubonnet was first sold in 1846 by Joseph Dubonnet, in response to a competition run by the French Government to find a way of persuading French Foreign Legionnaires in North Africa to drink quinine.[4] Quinine combats malaria but is very bitter.

Ownership was taken over by Pernod Ricard in 1976. It was re-popularised in the late 1970s by an advertising campaign starring Pia Zadora. It is available in Rouge, Blanc and Gold (vanilla and orange) varieties. Dubonnet is also widely known by the advertisement slogan of the French graphic designer Cassandre "Dubo, Dubon, Dubonnet" (a play on words roughly meaning "It's nice; it's good; it's Dubonnet"), which still can be found on the walls of houses in France. The brand later became owned by Heaven Hill.[3]

Dubonnet is commonly mixed with lemonade or bitter lemon, and forms part of many cocktails.

Reputedly Dubonnet is a favourite beverage of:

  • Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, who liked gin and Dubonnet: 30% gin, 70% Dubonnet with a slice of lemon under the ice. She once noted before a trip, "I think that I will take two small bottles of Dubonnet and gin with me this morning, in case it is needed."[8][9]
  • Queen Elizabeth II, who liked 66% Dubonnet and 33% gin with two cubes of ice and a lemon slice before lunch every day.[10]
  • Nelson Rockefeller, whose taste for alcohol was moderate, would have an occasional glass of Dubonnet on the rocks.[11]


The following include Dubonnet as one of their ingredients:

  • The Alfonso
  • Apple Dubonnet
  • Arnaud's Special (New Orleans)
  • Bartender
  • Bentley
  • Blackthorn Cocktail
  • Dot-Roy
  • Dubonnet Cassis
  • Dubonnet Cocktail
  • Dubonnet Daniella
  • Dubonnet Delight
  • Dubonnet Fizz
  • Dubonnet Helado
  • Dubonnet Highball
  • Dubonnet Kiss
  • Dubonnet Manhattan
  • Dubonnet Negroni
  • Dubonnet Royal
  • Dubonnet TT
  • Jack London Martini
  • Opera Cocktail
  • Phoebe Snow [12]
  • Red Moonlight
  • Rum Dubonnet
  • San Diego Cocktail
  • Savoy Hotel Special
  • Trois Rivieres
  • Mummy Love
  • Marble Hill
  • Napoleon
  • Karl-Gerhard
  • Bossunova Belt
  • Magic Juice
  • The Queen Mother
  • The Mexican

See also

  • Gin and tonic, another drink invented to encourage European colonial soldiers in South Asian tropical climates to take quinine.


  1. Wells, John C. (2008). Longman Pronunciation Dictionary (3rd ed.). Longman. ISBN 978-1-4058-8118-0.
  2. Jones, Daniel (2011). Roach, Peter; Setter, Jane; Esling, John (eds.). Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary (18th ed.). Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-15255-6.
  3. Official website
  4. Geoghegan, Tom (July 20, 2009). "Who still drinks Dubonnet?". BBC News. Retrieved November 25, 2011.
  5. "Make your own Queen Mother cocktail". the Guardian. February 1, 2013.
  6. "Queen Elizabeth has awarded a Royal Warrant to Dubonnet". MSN.
  7. "Dubonnet". www.doyoudubonnet.com.
  8. "Queen Mother 'pack gin' note sold". BBC News. July 5, 2008. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
  9. "Rare insight into Queen Mum's life as Backstairs Billy mementos sold". Hello!. July 3, 2008. Archived from the original on September 22, 2012. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
  10. Alderson, Andrew (July 5, 2009). "Exclusive: behind the scenes with the Queen". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on July 8, 2009. Retrieved November 25, 2011.
  11. Clines, Francis (August 20, 1974). "Always Wanted Presidency: Rocky Settles for Second". The Register-Guard. Eugene, Oregon. The New York Times. p. 12c.
  12. Playboy Host and Bar Book by Thomas Mario
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