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The Gibson

The martini has been around since the late 19th century and has developed into a classic cocktail. If you’d like to add a twist to your drink, why not make it a Gibson? This beverage is very similar to the martini but uses a cocktail onion instead of olives or lemon twists. With only two main ingredients and one garnish, it is very easy to make.


History of the Gibson

For a long time, it was thought that Charlie Conolly first created this cocktail at New York’s Players Club in the 1930s. However, another story states that it was invented in San Francisco 40 years earlier, at the Bohemian Club, where a patron changed up the original martini recipe and used an onion, in part because he thought that it would prevent colds.


In any case, the drink is still an extremely popular an sought-after variation today and features on the menu of many clubs, bars and restaurants. Like the martini, it is very strong at 31 percent ABV when made with 80-proof gin.



The two main ingredients in the Gibson cocktail recipe are gin and dry vermouth. To obtain the best flavor possible, it is recommended that you use a premium gin. It’s worth remembering that vermouth is actually not a liquor, but a fortified wine, so it doesn’t last as long. When you’ve opened your bottle, you should consume it within three months, although it may already taste stale before then. Make sure to refrigerate the bottle and write the open date on it.


The garnish which makes this beverage so unique is the cocktail onion. Traditionally, you should use either one or three onions per drink because an old bartender superstition dictates that using an even number of garnish brings bad luck. Cocktail onions are easy to find at the supermarket and are usually located next to the olives. If you’d like to customize your drink further, you can make your own pickled onions, as long as you select very small ones.


Optimal Ingredients

To stay true to the recipe, use the following ingredients. Once you’re confident you can make the cocktail well, you could substitute vodka for the gin or add some onion brine to create a ‘dirty’ version.

  • 2.5 ounces of gin
  • 0.5 ounce of dry vermouth
  • One or three cocktail onions as garnish


How to Make It

The cocktail is very easy to create, and you’ll only need a mixing glass and a cocktail glass. For best results, your cocktail glass will be chilled. Also, don’t forget to procure some ice before you get started.

  1. Fill your mixing glass with ice cubes and add the gin and the vermouth.
  2. Stir the mixture well.
  3. Strain the resulting drink into your cocktail glass.
  4. Garnish your cocktail with the onions.


No matter the occasion, this potent and delicious cocktail is an easy way to impress your guests. Although it only requires three ingredients and four steps to make it, you will be sure to enjoy the earthy and light flavor the onion garnish lends to your drink.

Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

Written by My Bartender

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