Gibbs Cocktail
Gibbs Cocktail

Written by: Shannon Partrick

September 1, 2020
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Table of Contents


A Brief History of The Gibson


What you need to make this drink



Cocktail by: Tony Roehr

The Gibson: A Brief History

Generally known as a dry gin martini garnished with a cocktail onion, the Gibson was first published in The World’s Drinks and How to Mix Them in 1908. Early recipes contain no mention of the onion, which became an essential ingredient by the 1940s. Many potential origin stories offer a similar narrative of a guest requesting a martini garnished with a cocktail onion (instead of the more popular olive or lemon twist) as a way of distinguishing their drink from others.
gibbs cocktail

A cocktail onion is a pickled pearl onion. It’s common practice among bartenders to include a splash of onion brine in the cocktail, to reinforce the drink’s inherently savory notes.

Although still not as well known as its sister cocktail—the Dirty Martini—the Gibson is having a moment thanks to references in modern TV shows like Mad Men and The Queen’s Gambit.


“I find the onion slightly more refined than the olive.”
—The Queen’s Gambit

What You Need to Make This Drink


If you want a basic, universally awesome gin for direct cocktails, get yourself a bottle of Plymouth. Any London dry style gin would also work.


Amontillado Sherry

We use a really special bottle of amontillado called Palomino Fino Sherry (we know what you’re thinking… but despite it’s name this is an amontillado sherry, not fino). But if you can’t get your hands on a bottle, any amontillado sherry will suffice. Be sure to keep your opened fortified wines in the fridge!


Black Lemon Bitters

This is a game changer. The bright pop of citrus ties everything together and gives the Gibbs Cocktail a real edge. With a softer affect than fresh lemon oil, Black Lemon Bitters would make a fantastic addition to most martini variations.


Dry Vermouth

Using a decent vermouth makes a huge difference in any martini. Dolin’s Dry Vermouth is a great go-to, but feel free to get nerdy with your fortified wine. Again, make sure to refrigerate after opening. A big reason many folks “don’t like vermouth” is because they’ve been served a poor quality, oxidized form of it.


Cocktail Onions

Our favorite brand is Dirty Sue. When sourcing, make sure you invest in something with brine that’s just as good as the onions, since you’ll be using both. Better yet, experiment with making your own!


About The Gibbs Cocktail

Inspired by a traditional Gibson, but spiked with black lemon and amontillado sherry, this big and bright, savory cocktail is the perfect way to start an evening.


2 oz Gin London Dry Style
3/4 oz Dry Vermouth
1/4 oz Amontillado Sherry
1/4 oz Onion Brine
2 dashes Black Lemon Bitters

Servings | 1 Cocktail

Glassware | Nick & Nora

Family | Martini

Garnish | Lemon Twist, Cocktail Onion


Add all ingredients to a mixing glass and stir with ice. Strain into a chilled Nick & Nora glass and garnish with a cocktail onion. Express the oil from the lemon twist and discard. 

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