The Queen Mother’s Cocktail

Queen Mom Cocktail (c) House Of Applejay, Inc.

From Malaria Tonic for French Legionnaires to Royal Approval

In 1846, Joseph Dubonnet, a French chemist, crafted a delightful concoction that would forever change the world of aperitifs. This creation, a sweet and aromatic wine-based aperitif, was originally formulated as a tonic for French legionnaires stationed in North Africa to combat malaria. Dubonnet’s blend featured fortified wine infused with a unique blend of herbs, spices, and quinine, a key ingredient known for its anti-malarial properties. Little did he know that his creation would soon transcend its medicinal origins to become a beloved drink fit for royalty, earning its place as “the Queen’s Favorite.”

Fast forward to the early 20th century, where Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon, born in 1900, would soon make her mark on history as Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. Growing up in the British aristocracy, she developed a passion for enjoying alcoholic beverages, a passion that would endure throughout her remarkable life, culminating in her passing in 2002 at the venerable age of 101. Some speculate that her moderate consumption of alcohol may have contributed to her remarkable longevity, a theory that has added to her legendary status.

The Queen Mother’s approach to alcohol consumption was characterized by a refined elegance and moderation. She maintained a consistent routine, indulging in a glass of gin and Dubonnet at noon, followed by red wine and port with lunch, and champagne with dinner. Despite her regular imbibing, she never allowed herself to appear intoxicated in public, earning her a reputation for graceful enjoyment. Her preferred cocktail, a blend of gin and Dubonnet with a ratio of two parts Dubonnet to one part gin, became known as the “Queen Mother Cocktail,” a testament to her enduring influence.

Interestingly, her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, also developed a fondness for the Queen Mother Cocktail, further solidifying its royal connection. Thus, it came as no surprise when Dubonnet was granted a prestigious Royal Warrant by Queen Elizabeth II in November 2021, solidifying its status as a drink fit for royalty.

In addition to Dubonnet, you may find other unique cocktails of interest, such as the intriguing Sourtoe Cocktail, the classic Nick & Nora Cocktail, and, of course, the legendary Bond Martini, each with its own fascinating story and cultural significance.

The Distilling Culture


Embark on a global journey, and you’ll find that cultures possess tales that harken back to their ancient beginnings of distillation, brewing, and winemaking.

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