The Queen’s Jubilee Gin Cocktail
Celebrating a Magnanimous Life
The Queen’s Jubilee, a jubilee in heaven, our entire Highclere Castle world is in a mode of reflection, mourning, and celebration: the longest-serving monarch in British history has reached her sunset, having lived a full and magnanimous life. I never got the honor of an audience with Her Majesty, but I feel us kindredly connected via cocktails. It’s through cocktails that we can travel through time and space. We can build a castle right in our glass. Today, we present the story of the Queen’s favorite cocktail and a primer on some alternate versions that are lovely to make at home.
The Queen’s Favorite Gin Cocktail
It has been widely reported and verified that the Queen enjoys a Dubonnet and gin for her pre-lunch quaffing; two parts Dubonnet, one part gin, a slice of lemon shaken and strained into a Nick and Nora or cordial glass, is the consensus signature cocktail of Her Majesty.
What is Dubonnnet?
Dubonnet is a slightly sweet, fortified wine (wine strengthened with a spirit) blended with fruits, herbs, and spices. Like most aperitifs, the exact recipe is a closely guarded secret, but a few signature ingredients are black tea, dark berries, and the all-important quinine. Its creation in 1846 was an effort by the French government to promote the consumption of this anti-malarial ingredient (we’ve heard this story before with the gin and tonic), and the blend became famous for pleasure consumption among Cafe Society at the dawn of the 20th Century.
Highclere Castle Gin’s Tribute to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee
The cocktail was given the Highclere Castle treatment to honor the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Celebration. The addition of Champagne makes a lovely sparkling version that has become guests’ favorite at our gin tastings and events. Any fan of a spritz-style cocktail is sure to fall in love!
Dubonnet’s Royal Connection
Dubonnet’s Royal relationship goes back to the Queen Mother, and its improved formula was given Royal Warrant by Elizabeth II in 2021. This resulted in what I call a “run on the bottle shop” as fans of Her Majesty stockpiled their reserves of the now precious liquid. The American Producer has been unable to keep up, and its availability is limited. Do purchase a bottle if you find one!
For an alternate version, I experimented with Lillet Rose (another famous wine fortified with quinine and fruit liqueurs) as a substitute, which worked well!
The Queen’s Jubilee Cocktail Primer
1 oz. Highclere Castle Gin
2 oz. Dubbonet Rouge
2 lemon wheels
Shake briefly and strain into a cordial or Nick and Nora glass. Enjoy before lunch
1.5 oz. Highclere Castle Gin
1.5 oz. Dubonnet
3 oz. Sparkling wine – Champagne is the grandest choice. A St Hillaire or Cava would also do nicely.
Pour ingredients (except sparkling wine) over ice. Stir until chilled.
Strain contents into a champagne flute. Top with sparkling wine. Express the oils of a lemon peel over the surface.
1.5 oz. Highclere Castle Gin
1 oz. Lillet Rose
2 lemon slices
3 oz. Cava
Pour ingredients over ice. Give a bit of a rough stir, just enough to break up the lemon.
Strain contents into a Burgundy wine glass. Garnish with a lemon wheel.
Order your bottle of Highclere Castle Gin online and sip like a queen.
Photo Credit: Resident Mixologist Photo Credit: Resident Mixologist