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The Gibson

Gin lovers must try the classic Gibson cocktail. This savory cocktail is a simple twist on the gin martini and has been around for over a century. The recipe is incredibly simple, and you may even know it already. The only difference between a Gibson cocktail and a gin martini is the garnish.

gibson martini cocktail

The Gibson cocktail is made with gin and dry vermouth, and it’s often garnished with a pickled onion. In its modern incarnation, it is considered a cousin of the ubiquitous martini, distinguished mostly by garnishing with an onion instead of an olive.

If you’re looking for a classic cocktail recipe that’s easy to make and has a savory taste, then the Gibson cocktail is the perfect choice. In this article, we will explore the history of the Gibson cocktail, the ingredients, and the recipe. We will also provide tips on how to make the perfect Gibson cocktail at home. So, grab your shaker and let’s get started!


The Gibson cocktail is a classic gin-based cocktail that has been around for over a century. The exact origin of the cocktail is unclear, with several popular tales and theories about its genesis. One theory suggests that the cocktail was invented by Charles Dana Gibson, the creator of the popular Gibson Girl illustrations.

According to the story, Gibson challenged Charley Connolly, the bartender of the Players Club in New York City, to improve upon a traditional martini. Connolly added a pickled onion as a garnish, and the Gibson was born.

two gibson martinis dirty drink

Another theory suggests that the Gibson was created by Walter D.K. Gibson, a San Francisco businessman who frequented the Bohemian Club in the 1890s. According to Al Gibson, Walter’s great-nephew, Walter invented the cocktail by mixing gin and dry vermouth without bitters and garnishing it with an orange twist.

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The Gibson first appeared in print in the 1908 book “The World’s Drinks And How To Mix Them” by William Boothby. The cocktail gained popularity during the prohibition era when the addition of a pickled onion as a garnish helped mask the taste of poor-quality gin.

How to Make It

gibson martini cocktail

The Gibson

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Making a Gibson cocktail is easy and straightforward. Here is a simple recipe that you can use to make your own Gibson cocktail at home.


  • 2 1/2 ounces of gin or vodka
  • 1/2 ounce of dry vermouth
  • Cocktail onion for garnish


  1. Fill a mixing glass with ice.
  2. Add the gin (or vodka) and dry vermouth into the mixing glass.
  3. Stir the mixture until it is well-chilled.
  4. Strain the mixture into a chilled cocktail glass.
  5. Garnish the cocktail with a cocktail onion.

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The Gibson cocktail is a classic drink that has been around for over a century. While the original recipe calls for gin, dry vermouth, and a pickled onion, there are many variations of this cocktail that you can try.

You can adjust the recipe to suit your taste. For instance, you can use more or less vermouth to make the cocktail drier or sweeter. You can also use different types of gin or vodka to add more flavor to the cocktail. When it comes to garnishing the cocktail, you can use different types of onions, such as pickled onions or cocktail onions. You can also add a twist of lemon or orange to add more flavor to the cocktail.

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Here are a few of the most popular variations:

Dirty Gibson

If you like your cocktails with a bit of savory flavor, then you might want to try a Dirty Gibson. This variation of the Gibson adds a splash of olive juice to the mix, giving it a briny, salty taste. To make a Dirty Gibson, simply add a splash of olive juice to your gin and vermouth mixture before shaking or stirring.

Pickled Onion Gibson

The pickled onion is what sets the Gibson apart from the classic Martini. But if you really love the taste of pickled onions, you can take it a step further by adding more onions to your cocktail. Simply skewer a few extra cocktail onions and add them to your drink for an extra burst of flavor.

Vodka Gibson

While the original Gibson recipe calls for gin, you can easily substitute vodka if you prefer. Vodka has a smoother taste than gin, which can make for a more subtle cocktail. Simply swap out the gin for vodka in the recipe and enjoy.

Is a Gibson just a Martini?

The Gibson vs Martini debate is one that drinkers have long argued about. While both cocktails are very similar, the main difference between them is the garnish. A Gibson is a variation of the classic martini that is garnished with a pickled onion instead of an olive or lemon twist. The use of the onion gives the cocktail a slightly sweeter, more savory taste compared to a traditional martini.

Do you eat the onion in a Gibson Martini?

Yes, you can eat the onion in a Gibson Martini. The cocktail onion is pickled and is meant to be eaten along with the drink. The onion adds a slightly sweet and savory flavor to the cocktail and is an essential part of the Gibson Martini experience.

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

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Paul Kushner

Written by Paul Kushner

Founder and CEO of MyBartender. Graduated from Penn State University. He always had a deep interest in the restaurant and bar industry. His restaurant experience began in 1997 at the age of 14 as a bus boy. By the time he turned 17 he was serving tables, and by 19 he was bartending/bar managing 6-7 nights a week.

In 2012, after a decade and a half of learning all facets of the industry, Paul opened his first restaurant/bar. In 2015, a second location followed, the latter being featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

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