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How to Make the Gibson Martini

The Gibson Martini is a twist on the Classic Martini. One difference, if you can call it that, is the addition of a cocktail onion or many! The result is a slightly salty dry martini that is perfect for sipping anytime!

Gibson Martini 1

No one is really sure where of the history of the Gibson Martini was born. It could have been Walter D.K. Gibson from San Francisco siddled up to the bar at the Bohemian Club in the late 1880s and asked for a few pickled pearl onions to be added to his gin and dry vermouth.

We do know that the Gibson recipe did make it onto the 1908 edition of “The World’s Drinks And How To Mix Them” by William Boothby. Still the pickled onions had not been assocaited with the cocktial yet.

The other story is the another Gibson in the early 1900s, this time Charles Dana Gibson, one of America’s most popular illustrators. His drawings of young women, known as “Gibson Girls,” graced the covers of magazines and newspapers across the country. He thought it would be humorous to challenge the bartender of the Players Club in New York City to create a martini variation. Charley Connolly tossed in an allium and the pickled onion garnish was born

Whether Walter Gibson or Charles, the cocktail quickly became a favorite among New York’s elite, and it wasn’t long before it was being served at all the best parties. Today, the Gibson Martini is has made it into the oeuvre of classic cocktails.

Gibson Martini 2

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Where to find ingredients for Gibson Martini cocktails

You can find all the ingredients at Spirits Kiosk (10% off the entire site by quoting this code: ALushLife10SK.) in the UK; or in the USA!

What goes into a Gibson Martini

With these three ingredients, you can enjoy this classic Gibson recipe

  • Gin: The key to making a great Gibson Martini is to use the best quality gin you can find. This will ensure that the cocktail has the perfect flavor, texture, and aroma. I don’t suggest using an Old Tom Gin unless you prefer a sweet and salty taste.
  • Dry Vermouth: The sweetness of the fortified wine helps to offset the bitterness of the gin, while its thick body adds a creamy texture to the cocktail. Any Italian vermouth or one of the French vermouths is fine.
  • Cocktail Onions: You might find it to be an odd ingredient to include in a martini, but the signature onion garnish is key. The cocktail onions should have a sharp, tangy flavor that enhances the flavor of the gin. The onions also add a crunchy texture to the drink. Gin and vermouth tipsy onions are a great last bite!

What are cocktail onions?

A cocktail onion is a pearl white onion pickled in a brine of vinegar, garlic, a bit of sugar and salt. You can also add black peppercorns and juniper berries for more flavour.

  • 🍸Top Tip(le): Tips to remember when making a Gibson
    • Be sure to use good-quality gin and vermouth.
    • Although these are the measurements I like, you can add equal parts gin to vermouth or one part gin to less vermouth.
    • The pickled onions should be NOT rinsed before being used as a garnish.
    • Do not forget to chill the cocktail glass before adding the ingredients.
    • You can make a Dirty Gibson by adding olive brine to the classic Gibson cocktail recipe
    • No lemon twist needed!

What tools you need to make Gibson Martini

You won’t be needing a cocktail shaker for this one! Grab a jigger, a barspoon, mixing glass and Martini Glass or coupe glass for this Gibson Martini recipe.

  • Step 1: Add ice cubes to a mixing glass, then add vermouth and gin.
  • Step 2: Stir gently until chilled.
  • Step 3: Strain the drink into a chilled cocktail glass.
  • Step 4: Garnish with cocktail onion and serve.
  • Step 5: Bottoms up!
Gibson Martini 3

Where to find more Martini ecipes

You can find loads of other martini recipes to try! Here are a few of my favorites:

 Plus more classic Martini recipes here

Vesper Martini PIN
Vesper Martini

Here is the recipe!

Gibson Cocktail

Gibson Cocktail

It is a Martini, but the twist has been replaced with an onion!
No ratings yet
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 7 minutes
Course Cocktails
Cuisine American
Servings 1
Calories 183 kcal


  • 2 1/2 oz gin
  • 1/2 oz dry vermouth
  • Cocktail onions


  • Add the gin and dry vermouth to a mixing glass
  • Add ice
  • Stir and stir
  • Strain into a chilled coupe or Martini glass
  • Garnish with the cocktail onions


Serving: 1gCalories: 183kcalCarbohydrates: 2gSodium: 16mg
Keyword Gibson, Gibson Cocktail
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