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The gibson is essentially a dry martini garnished with a cocktail onion. We like ours with just a tiny splash of the onion brine. We especially like Sable & Rosenfeld’s Tipsy Cocktail Onions that have a bit of vermouth added to them.
Origins of the gibson are clouded in colorful stories. The earliest written record is in William Boothby’s ‘The World’s Drinks and How to Mix Them’ published in 1907.
Various stories attribute the drink to Charles Gibson, the illustrator who found fame with his Gibson Girls. Others give credit to different people named Gibson. Businessmen, onion farmers, diplomats – the list is long.
One legend has it that a businessman requested his cocktail to be nothing more than water. In order to make it stand apart from the martinis asked that his be garnished with a cocktail onion.
This may have helped his business dealings, but we’re glad the gibson isn’t made with just water these days. If you’re looking for a change up from a martini with olives but don’t want to stray too far, a gibson is an excellent alternative. Served up in a martini glass a gibson is an elegant drink to sip.
2.5 ounces gin or vodka
1 teaspoon dry vermouth
1 tiny splash of onion brine
Garnish: 1 or 3 cocktail onions.
In a mixing glass half filled with ice, combine the gin or vodka with the vermouth and onion brine.
Strain into a cocktail glass.
Garnish with 1 or 3 cocktail onions.
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I like this larger mixing glass. It’s sturdy and you can make more than one drink at a time in it.
I’ve used Riedel glasses for years, and these Vinum martini glasses are among my favorites. Not too big, they’re perfect for this recipe.
Cocktail onions with a bit of vermouth – perfect for a Gibson. (I find myself eating these right out of the jar too)
A fascinating reprint of an early cocktail recipe book. There are a lot of classics in here. I love these old books.