Malaria and Dubonnet Rouge

Most brands record their history and that's that, but some need to be economical with the truth to be able to create a distinct niche for themselves. The Dubonnet family had no need for an invented history for their famous a sweet, aromatised wine-based aperitif containing 14.8% alcohol.

The French Foreign Legion (Legion √Čtrang√®re) fought their wars in some parts of the world where malaria was rife. To treat malaria the men needed to be treated with quinine, which was for some sometimes simply too bitter to swallow.
To combat this problem, the French government started a competition in order to find a solution that made quinine more palatable for soldiers battling their way trough northern Africa. They could have looked to the other side of the English Channel to discover gin and tonic (the famous G&T), but as could be expected, they went their own French way.

Dubonnet Rouge was created in 1846 as a response to that competition by Parisian chemist annex wine merchant Joseph Dubonnet.

Dubonnet Rouge is a mix of fortified red wine, a proprietary blend of herbs, spices and peels, cane sugar plus medicinal quinine. The taste is described as "cherry, mint and walnut aromas, with notes of lemon zest, cardamom and toffee" or as "flavors of orange, nuts, chocolate and coffee; finishes fairly sweet, with lemon and herb notes." Observe that nobody mentions the bitter quinine? Mission accomplished.

The brand ownership was taken over by Pernod Ricard in 1976. Although Dubonnet Rouge is still the best selling product, there are now two new varieties: Dubonnet Blanc (based on white fortified wine) and Gold (with vanilla and orange).

No comments:

Post a Comment