Queen Mum, like her daughter Queen Elizabeth II, was known for her fondness for consuming gin with Dubonnet. In fact, this simple concoction is said to have been a fixture of her daily lunch for decades.
The inventor of the Queen Mother Cocktail, Jake Burger, took this combination and turned it into a full-blown cocktail. The first time he served his concoction was in 2014 at the Portobello Star Bar in London.
Quick Facts Queen Mother Cocktail
- Method: stirred
- Flavor profile: bittersweet, boozy
- How to serve it: straight up
- Best glassware: coupe glass
- Alcohol content: ~ 22% ABV, 19 grams of alcohol per serving
- 1 Jigger
- 1 Mixing glass
- 1 Bar spoon
- 1 Hawthorne Strainer
- 1 oz Dry Gin
- 1 oz Dubonnet
- 0.75 oz Aperol
- 0.25 oz Jamaican overproof pot still Rum
- Add all ingredients into a mixing glass filled with ice.1 oz Dry Gin, 1 oz Dubonnet, 0.75 oz Aperol, 0.25 oz Jamaican overproof pot still Rum
- Stir until the drink is well-chilled.
- Strain into a chilled glass and garnish with grapefruit peel.
The Ingredients of the Queen Mother Drink
The version the Queen Mother used to drink only called for gin and Dubonnet. To perfectly marry those flavors, two more ingredients joined the mix:
- Gin: Portobello - the place that brought forth the recipe for the Queen Mother Cocktail - also produces its own gin. Naturally, that's what went into the original drink from Jake Burger. It's a London Dry, which blends well with the other ingredients - as do other Dry or London Dry Gin brands. So, if you have a favorite or an open bottle of decent quality, go with that.
- Dubonnet: Dubonnet is a fortified red wine from France. It's bittersweet with subtle spicy and herbaceous notes. The base is made from Ruby red, Ruby cabernet, and Muscat of Alexandria grapes, spiked with French Brandy and sweetened with cane sugar.
- Aperol: The bittersweet and fruity Amaro adds herbal complexity, fruity notes, and a hint of sweetness.
- Rum: By adding just a bit of Jamaican overproof rum, the drink gets some additional funky notes.
- Garnish: The perfect way to garnish that drink is either a grapefruit peel or an orange peel. Squeeze it slightly before discarding it into the cocktail to help the peel release its essential oils.
Taste of the Queen Mother Cocktail
The bright red-colored cocktail tastes quite complex with fruity, citrussy, and bittersweet notes of Aperol and Dubonnet. The overproof rum brings a bit of an alcoholic tingle and a distinct grassy yet tropical note to the mix. Combine this with a hint of juniper from the gin, and you have a seriously complex mix, quite different from the other classic gin cocktails most of us are used to.
Tips & Tricks
When preparing the Queen Mother Cocktail, keep in mind that this is a drink with only alcoholic ingredients, thus, made in a mixing glass. You want to stir it for at least 20 to 25 seconds with plenty of ice cubes to get the right amount of dilution into your drink.
Further, since you serve it straight up (without ice), all elements should be chilled before prepping your cocktail - for it to remain cool for as long as possible. That includes the cocktail glass.
The Queen Mother is one of the lesser-known gin cocktails but a very unique one worth trying. Other rare recipe finds made with gin are:
- The Red Snapper, a twist on the famous Bloody Mary
- The Montreal Cocktail, a classic made with gin, Aperol, whiskey, and suze
- The Angel Face, a fruity mix of gin, calvados, and apricot brandy
More about Dubonnet
Similar to Sweet Vermouth, Dubonnet is flavored with numerous herbs and spices like tea, cinchona bark, and blackcurrant. Because of the quinine content of cinchona bark, Dubonnet belongs to the so-called quinquina.
Quinquinas are aromatized wines or apéritifs that contain cinchona bark, which in turn contains quinine - the substance responsible for the bitter flavor of tonic water.
If you want to know more about Queen Elisabeth's favorite, head over to our guide to Dubonnet.