Up until recently, this cocktail of gin and Dubonnet was drunk regularly by only two people on the planet.
Then, in 2002, Queen Elizabeth, consort of King George VI, formerly Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon of Glamis, died from complications of a cold at the age of 101.
This sad event left us with only one remaining fan of this peculiar cocktail. Our solitary tippler is none other than Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas Queen, Defender of the Faith.
The Queen is said to enjoy this drink every lunchtime, and she has it served in a particular glass that is etched with her royal cypher ‘EiiR‘ (Elizabeth II Regina). As I recall from a documentary about the Monarchy, the steward who regularly mixes the drink for the Queen does not bother to use a cocktail jigger – he knows how far up the etching to fill the glass. If I remember correctly, it is something like gin to the bottom of the ‘E’ and then Dubonnet to the top of it. The lemon is trapped under the ice probably because The Queen would not care for the slurping created by the fruit touching her lips.
Friends of ours were involved in an event hosted by the Royal Navy with The Queen (or ‘Brenda’ as they call her) in attendance. The Navy had to get a bottle of Dubonnet in to make keep The Queen happy. Most of the officers commented that Dubonnet was not terrifically pleasant, but somehow, like the rum in Nelson’s cask, much of it eventually disappeared.
The cocktail preferences of the Royal Family are well known. The Queen, while enjoying her Gin & Dubonnet at lunch, will have a glass of wine with lunch, a Dry Martini after, and a glass of champagne before bed. The Prince of Wales prefers a Dry Martini or a sip of Laphroig single malt whisky. The Duchess of Cornwall likes G&T. From this point of royal succession onwards, it all goes to shit. The Duke of Cambridge has weaned himself off sambuca shots, and now likes lager. Prince Harry is said to like Vodka Red Bulls. The Duchess of Cambridge sticks vodka in champers with passionfruit and Chambord and calls it ‘Crack Baby.’
Although the EiiR is a simple cocktail from a bygone age, I think we ought to make them now and then just to prevent the overall deterioration of the fundamental ideals of Britishness that will come with the accession of William V and his Fosters.
- 25ml gin
- 50ml Dubonnet
- Plenty of ice
- 1 slice of lemon
Pour the gin into an Old Fashioned glass, add the Dubonnet and stir. Place the lemon in next, and then the ice to trap the lemon under the ice.
Gently stir again to chill, but not so much as to allow the lemon to escape its icy prison.
Obviously, the royal household does not call the drink an EiiR – that's just our name for it.