Dubonnet was first sold in 1846 by Joseph Dubonnet, in response to a competition run by the French Government to find a way of persuading French Foreign Legionnaires in North Africa to drink quinine. Quinine combats malaria but is very bitter.
The brand-name Dubonnet was taken over by Pernod Ricard in 1976. It was re-popularised in late 1970s by an advertising campaign starring Pia Zadora. It is available in Rouge, Blanc and Gold (vanilla and orange) varieties. Dubonnet is also widely known by the advertisement slogan of the French graphic designer Cassandre "Dubo, Dubon, Dubonnet", which still can be found on walls of houses in France. Dubonnet is commonly mixed with lemonade or bitter lemon, and forms part of many cocktails. Reputedly it is a favourite beverage of:
- Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, who liked gin and Dubonnet: 30% gin, 70% Dubonnet with a slice of lemon under the ice. She once noted before a trip, "...I think that I will take two small bottles of Dubonnet and gin with me this morning, in case it is needed..."
- Queen Elizabeth II, who likes two-parts Dubonnet and one-part gin with two cubes of ice and a lemon slice before lunch every day.
- Hetty Wainthropp (self-made private investigator) of the BBC series Hetty Wainthropp Investigates.
- Katie Morosky (played by Barbra Streisand) who drank "Dubonnet over ice" in the movie The Way We Were (1973).
- In the movie Tootsie The main character as Dorothy Michaels orders a "Dubonnet with a twist" while dining at The Russian Tea Room.
- In the second season of the TV series Mad Men, Bobbie Barrett orders a "Dubonnet with a twist" at Lutèce -- just before Don Draper follows her into the restroom and...gives her the finger.
The following include Dubonnet as one of their ingredients:
- Alfonso, The
- Apple Dubonnet
- Blackthorn Cocktail
- Dubonnet Cassis
- Dubonnet Cocktail
- Dubonnet Daniella
- Dubonnet Delight
- Dubonnet Fizz
- Dubonnet Helado
- Dubonnet Highball
- Dubonnet Kiss
- Dubonnet Manhattan
- Dubonnet Negroni
- Dubonnet Royal
- Dubonnet TT
- Opera Cocktail
- Red Moonlight
- Rum Dubonnet
- San Diego Cocktail
- Savoy Hotel Special
- Trois Rivieres
- Mummy Love
- Marble Hill
- Bossunova Belt
- Magic Juice
- Gin and tonic, another drink invented to encourage European colonial soldiers in tropical climates to take quinine.
- Geoghegan, Tom (2009-07-20). "UK | Magazine | Who still drinks Dubonnet?". BBC News. Retrieved 2011-11-25.
- Queen Mother 'pack gin' note sold.
- The hand-written memo hellomagazine.com
- Alderson, Andrew (2009-07-05). "Exclusive: behind the scenes with the Queen". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 2011-11-25.
- "Dubonnet". Classic Mixology. Retrieved 2011-11-25.