Wednesday, December 9, 2015

41 Days of Drinks (day 19)

• This is the latest entry in a daily feature that will run through New Year's Eve. To provide it, I combed through all sorts of sources -- my own archives, bar books, distillers' ideas, etc. -- even press releases from breathless PR people seeking to get their clients' products mentioned.

So far in this series, I've given you 18 different cocktails to try. But, realizing each one will take a few minutes to make and you may need to pour something very quickly for a guest, I offer this alternative. It isn't a cocktail, per se, but it is a tasty concoction on its own.


This aperitif (pronounced dew bone A) is a blend of fortified wine, herbs, and spices with fermentation being stopped by the addition of alcohol.

It was created in 1846 by Joseph Dubonnet, his entry in a competition run by the French government to find a way to persuade soldiers stationed with the French Foreign Legion in North Africa to drink quinine, which is part of the Dubonnet recipe. Quinine is used to combat malaria, a disease prevalent in most places the Legionnnaires were posted, but is very bitter and, thus, not drinkable on its own.

The brand-name Dubonnet was taken over by the beverage giant Pernod Ricard in 1976. It is available in Rouge (red), Blanc (vanilla) and Gold (orange) varieties.

Incidentally, Britain's late queen mother, Elizabeth, was a noted imbiber of a cocktail that was 70% Dubonnet and 30% gin. Queen Elizabeth II also has been photographed enjoying a Dubbonet-and-gin, which she has before lunch nearly every day.

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