In a recent post about aperitif wines such as vermouth and quinquinas, I grumbled that the beauty of appetite-enhancing drinks is largely overlooked in the U.S. But while light, bitter aperitifs aren't quite in vogue in these parts, during the 20th century a somewhat more potent aperitif cocktail enjoyed a good degree of popularity.
Sometimes known as "the Zaza," the Dubonnet Cocktail dates to around 1914, when it appeared in a book called Drinks, by Jacques Straub. An incredibly easy-to-prepare mixture of dry gin and Dubonnet, a French quinquina, the Dubonnet Cocktail has a mild, palate-prompting bitterness and a satisfying complexity of flavor that makes it perfect as a pre-prandial drink, while still bearing enough alcoholic oomph to rub the edges off a long work week.
About the author: Paul Clarke blogs about cocktails at The Cocktail Chronicles and writes regularly on spirits and cocktails for Imbibe magazine. He lives in Seattle, where he works as a writer and magazine editor.
- 1 1/2 ounces dry gin
- 1 1/2 ounces Dubonnet
Combine ingredients in a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir well for 20 seconds and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Twist a piece of lemon peel over the drink and use as garnish.