The Queen’s birthday and World Gin Day are both celebrated on the second Saturday of June. Make the most of the dual occasion with these surprising royal gin facts.
At Sipsmith, we do love a good excuse to lift a glass—and June certainly does its part. World Gin Day (our favourite holiday, naturally) and the Queen’s birthday both fall on the second Saturday of the month, and together provide the perfect joint occasion for toasting.
To get you prepared for this serendipitous occasion, we’ve compiled our favourite royal gin facts (we also suggest you take a page out of the royal book and indulge in a Sipsmith Dubonnet; find the recipe below).
Gin and Dubonnet
By far the best-known royal gin fact is the Queen’s enjoyment of Gin and Dubonnet, a preference she supposedly inherited from her mother. Known varyingly as the Dubonnet Cocktail or the Zaza, this sip is garnished with lemon and served simply over ice. Supposedly, the Queen enjoys one every day just before lunch. In the evenings, meanwhile, HRH is said to enjoy a dry Martini and a glass of Champagne.
The Queen Mother’s Martinis
A seasoned tippler and fellow appreciator of the charms of Dubonnet, the Queen Mother likewise enjoyed her Martinis on the dry side. This once caused confusion when, having asked for a Martini at a dinner, she received a glass of Martini Rosso vermouth. Also attending the dinner was journalist RW Apple, who was sent by the Queen Mother to teach the butler to prepare something a bit drier. The result was an 11:1 Martini, which was enjoyed for the rest of the evening.
Several members of the royal family are avowed Martini drinkers.
We can only imagine that the Martini debacle proved rather traumatising, as another royal gin fact states that the Queen Mother used to transport bottles of gin in her hatboxes when travelling. One wouldn’t want to be far from a reliable, well-made tipple, after all.
Though the Queen may take hers dry, Prince Charles is said to enjoy a perfect Martini. No, it isn’t just an exceptionally well-stirred cocktail. In this case, “perfect” means a very wet Martini, served with a 1:1 gin to vermouth ratio. The Duchess of Cornwall, meanwhile, is a fan of a good G&T. Quite right.
Gin and Corgis
Of all the royal gin titbits, this may be the most surprising: rumour has it that the Queen once demoted a royal footman. The reason? He had apparently been mixing gin and whisky into the food and water bowls of the Queen’s corgis. This is one pairing we certainly wouldn’t recommend.
The Gin and Dubonnet is a summery serve with plenty of regal associations.
Recipe: Sipsmith Dubonnet
Now that you’ve brushed up on the trivia, treat yourself to a royal-approved serve. Dry, refreshing, and perfect for summer days, it’s clear proof of Her Majesty’s exceptional taste in spirits.
Add both the gin and Dubonnet to a mixing glass filled with cold ice and stir well. Strain into a chilled glass filled with ice cubes and garnish with a lemon slice.