I’ll have a Gibson Please…

I’ll Have a Gibson Please…

The history of the Gibson Cocktail is vague at best. It was possibly created for a teetotaler who wanted to discreetly distinguish their cocktail from others. Oddly the first written recipe for the Gibson in William Boothby’s 1908 The World’s Drinks and How to Mix Them makes no reference to the cocktails signature onion garnish. Regardless of the drink’s origins there is nothing quite as sublime as a well-made Gibson. This subtle variation of the Martini employs the use of a pickled pearl onion as a garnish. Getting to this mouthwatering little treat is near as enjoyable as the beverage it basks in.

As mixologists we understand that the sum of a great cocktail is in the whole of its parts. While there are many excellent brands of store-bought Pickled Pearl Onions available, as great lovers of the Gibson we prefer to make our own. Today we offer you not only the recipe for the Gibson Cocktail, but also a recipe for the best damned Gibson Onions you will ever eat. Drink well!

Vermouth Gibson Onions

  • 5 lb pearl onions peeled and trimmed.
  • 1 bottle +\- Dry Vermouth
  • 3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Kosher Salt
  • 1 cup vinegar.
  • 2 tablespoons pickling spice

Steep onions in vermouth for 24 hours.  Drain vermouth into a saucepan add sugar, salt, vinegar and pickling spice.  Bring to a boil, add pearl onions and simmer for 5 minutes.  Strain the onions reserving the boiling liquid.  Put onions in mason jars and top with reserve hot liquid.  Seal and preserve by water bath canning methods.

The Gibson

In a Cocktail Shaker Filled with Ice Add:

  • 2 Ounces London Dry Gin (We Like Boodles)
  • ¼ to ½ Ounce Dry Vermouth to Taste (We Like Dolin Dry)

Shake Until Painfully Cold.  Strain Into a Chilled Martini Saucer.  Garnish with Three Skewered Pearl Onions (One is NEVER Enough!)