This cocktail first made an appearance in the mid-1800s when French Foreign Legionnaires were encouraged to drink Dubonnet Rouge—a fortified wine infused with herbs, spices and quinine—to protect against malaria. But it wasn’t until the Queen Mother got her hands on the drink in the 20th century that the Dubonnet Cocktail truly took hold. The royal drinker was known to knock back a few with her lunch. Her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, is also a fan and takes after her mother in preferring that the cocktail be made with two parts Dubonnet Rouge to one part gin. We prefer the drier, more balanced version here made with equal parts.
When you want to drink a Martini, but don’t want to feel like you drank a Martini, opt for the 50/50. The cocktail takes its name from its proportions, equal parts gin and dry vermouth. This refreshing combo significantly lowers the drink’s ABV and intensifies its zesty, herbal vermouth flavors. Because it’s much more prominent here than...