The cocktail onion's greatest stage.

A good example of how powerful a garnish can be, with this cocktail the onion transforms a bitters-less Martini into an entirely new drink: the Gibson. The usual historical squabbles exist about the drink’s origins (in short: at San Francisco’s Bohemian Club in the 1890s for Walter D.K. Gibson, or for the illustrator, Charles Dana Gibson, among many others), but no one can seem to pinpoint when or why a pickled onion made it into the recipe, as the earliest versions did not call for it. By the mid-20th century though, the Gibson—with onion intact—appeared to represent a challenge to the Martini in terms of cultural caché, though its status has dwindled in recent years.


Serving: 1

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce dry vermouth
  • 1 ounce dry vermouth

Garnish: cocktail onion (see Editor's Note)

  1. Add all ingredients to a mixing glass.
  2. Add ice and stir until chilled.
  3. Strain into a chilled coupe or cocktail glass.
  4. Garnish with a cocktail onion.
Editor's Note

For a quick pickled cocktail onion, peel a handful of pearl onions and place in a jar filled with white vinegar and a pinch of sugar. Let infuse for a several hours or up to one week in the refrigerator.