Dubonnet was first produced in 1846 by Joseph Dubonnet, a chemist and wine merchant in Paris, who created it to improve on the very bitter tasting quinine which was used by soldiers in the French Foreign Legion against malaria in North Africa.
Dubonnet’s combination of herbs, spice and peels with fortified wine and the medicinal quinine made a vast difference, and it went on to become a highly fashionable drink during the middle of the last century. Dubonnet’s red grapes come from France’s Roussillon region and they are made into a fortified red wine and then flavoured with an exotic infusion of botanicals comprising barks (including quinine and cinnamon), herbs, roots, peels and flowers. Today it is regaining its popularity with mixologists in an ever growing range of cocktails. It is reputedly the favourite drink of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as a Dubonnet and gin (2:1) with ice and lemon.