I’ve heard of Dubbonet before. But I have so many bottles of liqueur and liquors in my bar that I use for one or two recipes and I never use it again. Often I toss it after a few years when I find I can’t even open it because much of the alcohol has evaporated from it and its nearly glued shut from all the sugar. Having grown wiser over the years, I never buy a bottle unless I see it in several cocktails I wish to test and try.
Recently I am taking a break from Tiki or Polynesian cocktails and getting back to the classics and standards of 100 years ago. Dubonnet keeps showing up. If I had realized sooner that it has a similar profile to sweet vermouth, I probably would have bought it years ago. In fact, I was in the liquor store recently and considered buying a small/half bottle of sweet vermouth and it was about $6, but I saw the full 750ml bottle of Dubonnet and it was the same price. So why not?
Once I got it home, I poured a small sip just to see what it was all about. I loved it, and I stuck the bottle in the fridge as they recommended. The ironic thing is, I probably like this better all on its own than in most of the cocktails I have been experimenting with.
What I love about spirits like this is that they transport you back into time a hundred years or more and give you a taste of what people of royalty all the way down to those in speakeasy joints were sipping on.
Here are some of my favorite cocktails I’ve used it in. While you could very easily put this in a cocktail shaker, you really do the spirit and the cocktail more justice if you stir it for a minute or longer in a mixing glass and pour it into a chilled cocktail glass such as a coupe, or V shaped martini glass, which is usually more readily available.
Zaza is a character from the 1915 silent movie.Also known as the Dubonnet Cocktail, it is simply equal parts dry gin and Dubonnet. Its almost like a sweet martini.
Cabaret Cocktail this one was a winner, I am glad I tried the first one I came across rather than the others which called for Benedictine. As much as I love Benedictine, it is totally unnecessary in this cocktail, especially since you have the Pernod or Absinthe to give it a slightly licorice note or medicinal taste.
- 2 ounces dry gin
- 1.5 ounces
- 3 dashes Angostura Bitters
- 3 drops Pernod Absinthe
- cocktail cherry garnish