So I don’t recall what I was reading or why this classic cocktail came to mind, but I announced to my boyfriend, Blair, that I have never tasted a Gibson. In fact, I don’t recall ever tasting a pickled onion. The next day, we’re at M Restaurant for happy hour (if you haven’t been to M for happy hour you are really missing out on a great deal Monday – Saturday, 5 – 7) and I order my very first Gibson. The bartender, Josh, presents me with a handsome, crisp looking cocktail garnished with two pickled pearl onions. With excitement, I pick up the chilled martini glass for my first taste of the classic tipple… it was delicious; cold and salty with just a hint of the onion flavor. Ironically, I am one of those people who generally avoid onions as they tend to stay with me for days but there must be something about the pickling that mends this awful side effect. I am giddy, so pleased with my tasty martini when Cris comes over to greet us (Cris is the head bartender, master of spirits, and all around bad-ass bartender) and proceeds to straw-taste my Gibson (she can do that, we’re friends) and exclaims, "it’s not dirty enough". She highjacks my cocktail and returns it to me with a bit more pickled onion juice and a dash of olive juice. Holy Martini… my new favorite cocktail.

Most evenings, if we’re not belly up to one of our favorite local bars, we can be found on our balcony sipping a cocktail carefully crafted by Blair. I should mention that, while Blair has never been employed as a bartender, he can mix a cocktail that would rival any seasoned bartender I know. He could never keep a job in a bar though because he would insist on joining you for a drink and would forget that there are other customers to tend to. At any rate, with pickled onions now in stock at home (olives and Gin always in stock) Blair mixes my Gibson, dirty, very dirty, with a dash of olive juice… life is good.


The Gibson

Believed to have been created in San Francisco by businessman Walter D.K. Gibson in the late 1800s. Mr. Gibson thought that eating onions prevented colds.

Traditional Recipe

2.5 oz Gin (or vodka)
.5 oz Dry vermouth

Add both ingredients to a mixing glass and fill with ice
Stir and train into a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with cocktail onion


Non-traditional Recipe — We’ll call it, the dirty Gibson (the way I like it)

2.5 oz Gin (or Vodka)
Dry vermouth rinse
Cocktail onion juice, to taste… say 2 bar spoons
Dash of olive juice (just to make it a bit briny), a dash or two
Garnish with cocktail onion