Queen mother cocktail

Queen Mother Cocktail

By Timo Torner / Last updated on October 27, 2022 

First published on October 18, 2022 

The Queen Mother cocktail is a funky, bittersweet, and fruity Gin cocktail honoring Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.

Queen Elizabeth, like her daughter Queen Elizabeth II, is known for her fondness for consuming Gin with Dubonnet. In fact, this simple concoction has been a fixture of the daily lunch for decades.

The Queen Mother cocktail takes this combination and creates a full-blown cocktail out of it. The recipe for the cocktail was created in 2014 by Jake Burger from the Portobello Star in London.

Portobello also produces its very own Gin, which got used for the Gin part in the original recipe. But you can also use another Dry or London Dry Gin because Aperol, overproof Rum, and Dubonnet add plenty of complexity to the drink.

The ingredients of the Queen Mother drink

The cocktail is based on Gin and Dubonnet in equal parts. As Portobello Gin Brand Director Tom Coates states, "The late Queen Mother was said to be a big fan of both gin and Dubonnet."

Portobello Road Dry Gin

The classic recipe the Queen Mother used to drink was only made of these two ingredients. But to perfectly marry those flavors, a few more ingredients are needed.

Aperol plays a big part in this marriage. The bittersweet and fruity Amaro adds herbal complexity, fruity notes, and a hint of sweetness. By adding just a bit of Jamaican Overproof pot still Rum, the drink gets some additional funky notes.

The perfect way to garnish that drink is by adding a grapefruit peel. Squeeze it slightly before discarding it into the cocktail to help the peel release its essential oils.

Aperol Amaro liqueur

What is Dubonnet?

Dubonnet is a fortified red wine produced in France. Its base is made from Ruby red, Ruby cabernet, and Muscat of Alexandria grapes, and later spiked with French Brandy and sweetened with cane sugar. 

Similar to Sweet Vermouth, Dubonnet gets also flavored with various herbs and spices like tea, cinchona bark, and blackcurrant. Because of the quinine content of cinchona bark, Dubonnet belongs to the so-called quinquina

"Dubo, Dubon, Dubonnet" marketing poster

In case you've never heard of the term quinquina, I want to give a short explanation:

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. 

Cocchi Americano, Kina Lillet, and Dubonnet are some of the most popular representatives of this group.

Queen mother cocktail

Queen Mother

A unique combination of Gin and Dubonnet, refined with Aperol and Jamaican overproof Rum.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: British
Keyword: aperol, dubonnet, Gin, Overproof Rum
Servings: 1
Calories: 175kcal
Cost: $2.40


  • 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.
  • Stir until the drink is well-chilled.
  • Strain into a chilled glass and garnish with grapefruit peel.


Serving: 3.25oz | Calories: 175kcal | Carbohydrates: 11.38g | Protein: 0.08g | Sodium: 0.72mg | Potassium: 0.16mg | Sugar: 11.14g | Iron: 0.01mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Queen Mother cocktail FAQs

What is the Queen's Dubonnet cocktail?

The popular aperitif cocktail the Queen likes to drink consists of one part Gin and two parts Vermouth. The Queen Mother cocktail, on the other hand, is made with Gin, Dubonnet, Aperol, and Jamaican Rum.

What does Dubonnet taste like?

Dubonnet has a spicy, herbal, and sweet taste. It's comparable to a cross between Sweet Vermouth and Campari.

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