If you swap out the rye for scotch in a Manhattan, and you get a Rob Roy. And if you swap the Campari for Fernet Branca in a Negroni, you get a Hanky Panky. But what happens when you substitute the olives in a Martini for cocktail onions? Somehow, you wind up with an entirely new cocktail called a Gibson. This is the only drink variation we can think of that’s defined by its garnish. It is, truly, just a Martini with a tiny pearl onion. That onion brings a subtle, tangy element, however, and sometimes that’s exactly what you want.
- Coupe, Nick & Nora, or Martini glass
- 2 ounces gin or vodka
- 1 ounce dry vermouth
- Cocktail onion
Step One: Chill Your Glass
Ideally, you’d pre-chill every single glass for every single (cold) cocktail - but this is especially important for Martinis. No one wants a warm Martini, and sticking your glass in the freezer for a couple of minutes will help ensure that your drink stays colder longer.
Step Two: Dry Vermouth
You often hear people say disparaging things about dry vermouth, but there’s truly no reason for this. Dry vermouth is delicious, especially if you get a good brand, like Dolin. Here we’re going to use a full ounce, because it smooths out the taste and texture of the drink, and it compliments the briny onion flavor. Pour 1 ounce dry vermouth into a mixing glass.
Step Three: Gin or Vodka
When we say you can use gin or vodka, we’re really just being nice and diplomatic. You should use gin. That’s how to make a proper Martini, and it’s also what you need for a proper Gibson. But if you have your heart set on vodka, go for it. Fortunately for you, this cocktail will be wonderful either way. Add 2 ounces gin or vodka to your mixing glass.
Step Four: Stir
Next, add around five or six ice cubes to your mixing glass, and stir everything for around 20 seconds. Why stir? Because shaking this drink will wash out the flavor, give the cocktail a murky color, and produce a not-so-ideal icy texture. Stirring your Gibson will make it smooth and velvety. Once you’re through, strain your drink into a chilled coupe, Nick & Nora, or Martini glass.
Step Six: Garnish
Finally, garnish with a cocktail onion. You can stick it on a toothpick and place it elegantly in your drink, or you can just fish a tiny onion out of your onion jar, and throw it right in the glass. The important thing is: Add an onion. That’s literally what makes a Gibson a Gibson.