Zaza Cocktail

Believe it or not, after the Zaza, only 2 more drinks left in the “Cocktail” section of the Savoy Cocktail Book!

751 Savoy “Cocktails” made, tasted, photographed, and blogged between June of 2006 and March of 2011.


…Of course, then on to the remaining 137 assorted Coolers, Daisies, Fixes, Fizzes, Punches, Rickeys, etc. and the Addenda to the Second edition of the book.

No rest for the wicked.

Zaza Cocktail
1/2 Dubonnet. (1 1/2 oz Dubonnet Rouge)
1/2 Dry Gin. (1 1/2 oz Junipero Gin)
(1 dash Angostura Bitters)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. (Squeeze lemon peel over glass and drop in.)
Source: Hugo Ensslin, “Recipes for Mixed Drinks” 1916-1917

Like the first time I made this, oh so many years ago, as the Dubonnet Cocktail, I found the mixture of half gin and half Dubonnet Rouge a bit plain. Thus, I always feel a bit justified in adding a dash of bitters and a citrus peel to the drink.

Definitely cures the plain Jane nature of this cocktail and slightly elevates it.

Hm, many possibilities for the name, “Zaza,” from a people of a certain region of Turkey to a reservoir on the Zaza River in Sancti Spiritus, Cuba.

However, since this comes from New York bartender Hugo Ensslin’s 1916, “Recipes for Mixed Drinks”, I’m going to guess this was named after the play or movie, “Zaza”.

From the wikipedia article about Zaza:

Zaza is a play, originally written by French playwrights Pierre Berton and Charles Simon, but probably best known in the English-speaking world in the 1898 adaptation by David Belasco. The title character is a prostitute who becomes a music hall entertainer and the mistress of a married man. According to the IMDb, it was produced on stage and in film six times between 1913 and 1956.

Colorful enough to capture the imagination and the time period fits Ensslin’s book.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

2 thoughts on “Zaza Cocktail

    • Occasionally folks have brought French or Canadian Dubonnet Rouge into the bar. I was hoping it would be more interesting, quinine and herb-wise. It really is very similarly flavored to the American Dubonnet.

      The only real difference seemed to be a slightly nicer wine base and a less alcoholic nose.

      It’s definitely a better product, but not the revelation I was hoping it would be.

      I still like the Vergano Americano as a real way to make Dubonnet Cocktails more interesting. Unfortunately, it’s kind of pricey.

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