Dubonnet is known as an aperitif that wine lovers enjoy before the first course of the dinner. And it’s also common to enjoy its exciting mix of sweet and bitter flavors on its own. However, you can use it as an ingredient in cocktails, too. In this article, we will discuss the best Dubonnet cocktails.

What Is Dubonnet?

Dubonnet Rouge is an aromatized and fortified wine made from red wine, brandy, and several spices. It was invented in the 1840s in France and originally used as a medication to fight Malaria. Today, the French only enjoy it as a drink but don’t use it as a drug anymore. In addition to Dubonnet Rouge, they have created a white (Dubonnet Blanc) and a golden variation (Dubonnet Gold). Besides, you can find American Dubonnet, a red style that’s slightly sweeter than the French original.

More Details on Dubonnet: WHAT IS DUBONNET AND HOW DOES IT TASTE?

How to Make Great Dubonnet Cocktails?

To make a delicious Dubonnet cocktail, you need some tools, the right glasses, and the best ingredients.

The Right Tools to Make Dubonnet Cocktails

As a cocktail fan, you should own a couple of tools. This is the essential equipment for every hobby bartender:

  • Shaker with a Lid: A shaker from stainless steel with a leak-proof lid is the right tool for mixing ingredients.
  • Mixing Glass: A mixing glass is a big glass that allows you to combine different ingredients and stir them properly without spilling them.
  • Measuring Cups in Different Sizes: To portion the ingredients correctly, you need measuring cups. Also, a tablespoon is helpful.
  • Mesh Strainer: A mesh strainer is the right tool to remove solid parts, including ice, from a mixture before serving it. Make sure to have one that matches all of your glasses.
  • Knife and Cutting Board: Finally, you need a knife and a cutting board to slice and peel fruits.

The Right Glasses for Serving Dubonnet Cocktails

Besides the proper tools, you also need the right glasses when serving cocktails. While wine glasses are okay for some wine-based cocktails, you need different glasses for others. These are the most common cocktail vessels:

  • Rocks Glass: With its broad, round bases, this stemless glass is perfect for vodka, whiskey, vodka, and many cocktails.
  • Long Drink Glass: The long drink glass has a smaller base than the rocks glass, but it’s much taller.
  • Martini Glass: This elegant glass is what you definitely have seen in many movies. It has a long stem and a cone-shaped bowl.
  • Coupe Glass: The coupe glass looks not too different from the Martini glass. Its bowl is similarly wide but not cone-shaped. Besides, it has a shorter stem.
Martini Glass Filled With an Orange-Colored Cocktail

Martini Glass

The Right Ingredients for Dubonnet Cocktails

High-quality ingredients are crucial for making an outstanding cocktail. Here are some guidelines to help you prepare the best drinks:

  • Dubonnet is the basis for all cocktails we will discuss in this article. You can choose between two red styles: The French original offers an outstanding balance of bitter and sweet aromas. The newer American style is significantly stronger in alcohol and perceivably sweeter because the bitter agents are less dominant. You might also need the white variation of the original from France. It’s dry and more bitter and herbal than Dubonnet Rouge.
  • In case you need spirits such as rum, whiskey, or gin for your cocktail, choose decent quality spirits. But don’t go for the high-price tier. These premium drinks are too precious to mix into a cocktail; better enjoy them on their own.
  • Press juices from fresh fruit instead of buying them. Industrial products from the grocery store often contain unnecessary colorants and preservatives. Besides, homemade juices typically taste better.
  • Finally, you need ice. Of course, you can buy it in the supermarket, but it might not be the best quality. Better use filtered spring water to make the ice yourself.

Jack London Martini

The Martini is a classic cocktail made from vodka and vermouth. If you haven’t tried it yourself yet, you might at least heard about it as the favorite drink of movie character James Bond. The Jack London Martini is a variation of this famous drink that features additional sweet notes and more intense bitter notes. To prepare it, you have to replace the vermouth with Dubonnet Blanc and maraschino liqueur.

More Details on Vermouth: VERMOUTH – FROM MEDICATION TO APERITIF

Ingredients

  • 3 oz blackcurrant vodka
  • 1 oz Dubonnet Blanc
  • ½ oz maraschino liqueur
  • crushed ice
  • lemon zest for decoration

Instructions

The right glass for the Jack London Martini is a -of course- Martini glass. Make sure to chill it upfront. Here is how to prepare the cocktail:

  1. Fill half of a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Add the liquid ingredients and shake them well.
  3. Strain the drink into the glass.
  4. Decorate the glass with a twist of lemon zest.

The Opera Cocktail

The Opera cocktail isn’t as popular as the Martini, but actually, it’s a classic as well. You can track its history back to the 1910s; before the American Prohibition, it was a popular drink in the high society.

Opera Cocktail in a Martini Glass

Opera Cocktail
Source: Cocktailia.com

Ingredients

  • 3 oz dry gin
  • 1 oz Dubonnet Rouge
  • ½ oz maraschino liqueur
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • crushed ice
  • lemon or orange zest for decoration

Instructions

Just like the Jack London Martini, the Opera comes in a Martini glass. But instead of a shaker, you need a mixing glass to prepare it. This is how to make this Dubonnet cocktail:

  1. Fill half of a mixing glass with ice.
  2. Add all ingredients.
  3. Stir properly for about 30 seconds. The mixture should be well-chilled by then.
  4. Strain the drink into the Martini glass.
  5. Garnish the glass with a twist of lemon or orange zest.

Dubonnet & Gin

The most famous of all Dubonnet cocktails might be Dubonnet & Gin. The reason is its royal fan: the British Queen Elizabeth II. Allegedly, she enjoys this drink as an aperitif before dinner every day. It’s pretty easy to make it as it contains only two ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 2 oz Dubonnet Rouge
  • 1 oz dry gin
  • 1 lemon wheel
  • 2 large ice cubes
  • crushed ice

Instructions

Choose a rocks glass to serve the Dubonnet & Gin cocktail. These are the steps to prepare it:

  1. Fill the crushed ice into a mixing glass.
  2. Add the Dubonnet and the gin.
  3. Stir the mix with a spoon until it’s properly chilled.
  4. Fill the large ice cubes and the lemon wheel into the rocks glass.
  5. Strain the drink from the mixing glass into the rocks glass.

Dubonnet Royale

The Dubonnet Royale is an upgraded version of the Dubonnet & Gin. Small portions of absinthe and Cointreau give this cocktail additional aromas of oranges and anise. Different bitters round up the flavor profile and create a rich and complex drink.

Ingredients

  • 2 oz Dubonnet Rouge
  • 1 oz dry gin
  • 1 dash Cointreau
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • 1 dash absinthe
  • crushed ice
  • 1 cherry and lemon zest for decoration

Instructions

For the Dubonnet Royale, pick a Martini glass. To prepare it, you need a mixing glass. Follow these steps:

  1. Fill half of the mixing glass with ice.
  2. Add the Dubonnet, the gin, the Cointreau, and the bitters.
  3. Stir until the mix is well-chilled.
  4. Rinse the Martini glass with a dash of absinthe.
  5. Strain the drink from the mixing glass into the Martini glass.
  6. Garnish it with a twist of lemon zest and a cherry.

Dubonnet Manhattan

The Manhattan is another classic that many cocktail lovers appreciate. It’s made from whiskey and sweet, red vermouth. For the Dubonnet Manhattan, you have to replace the vermouth partly with American Dubonnet and Angostura bitters. This change adds a bit more richness to the drink.

Ingredients

  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 1 oz American Dubonnet
  • ¼ oz dry vermouth
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • crushed ice
  • 1 cherry for decoration

Instructions

The best glass to serve the Dubonnet Manhatten is a Martini glass. To prepare the cocktail, use a mixing glass:

  1. Fill half of the mixing glass with ice.
  2. Add the bourbon, the Dubonnet, and the vermouth.
  3. Stir the mix with a spoon until it’s chilled.
  4. Strain the drink into the Martini glass.
  5. Garnish it with the cherry.
Dubonnet Manhattan Cocktail with a Cherry in a Martini Glass

Dubonnet Manhattan
Source: ScienceOfDrink.com

Dubonnet Fizz

The Dubonnet Fizz is a fruity cocktail that fantastically combines sweet and bitter aromas. As it’s quite refreshing, it’s an excellent choice for a summer party.

Ingredients

  • 2 oz Dubonnet Rouge
  • ¼ oz cherry liqueur
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • ½ oz lemon juice
  • 3 oz soda water
  • crushed ice
  • ice cubes

Instructions

Dubonnet Fizz typically comes in a long drink glass. Alternatively, you can use a white wine glass. Here is how to make it:

  1. Fill half of a cocktail shaker with crushed ice.
  2. Add the Dubonnet, the cherry liqueur, and the juices.
  3. Shake properly.
  4. Fill the ice cubes into the long drink glass.
  5. Strain the mix from the shaker into the glass.
  6. Top it with soda water.
  7. Stir carefully.

Napoleon

Our next Dubonnet cocktail is named after the great French general Napoleon. The reason for this naming is unclear, though. As Napoleon died more than 20 years before Dubonnet was introduced, he clearly never tasted this cocktail. Nevertheless, it’s a great drink to enjoy as an aperitif or on its own.

Ingredients

  • 2 oz gin
  • ½ oz Dubonnet Rouge
  • ½ oz Grand Marnier Orange Liqueur
  • 1 dash orange bitters
  • crushed ice

Instructions

The Napoleon typically is served in a Martini glass. Chill it upfront before preparing the cocktail. Here are the instructions to make the cocktail:

  1. Fill half of a shaker with ice.
  2. Add the Dubonnet, the gin, the orange liqueur, and the bitters.
  3. Shake until the mix is chilled.
  4. Strain it into the Martini glass.

Final Words

Dubonnet might not be the first ingredient that comes to mind when you think of great cocktails. But actually, it tastes fantastic when combined with gin, whiskey, or fruit liqueurs. Which of the Dubonnet cocktails we have discussed will be your favorite?