Gibson Martinis

The Gibson—a variation on a Martini made with a splash of pickled onion juice and garnished with a pickled pearl onion—doesn't get enough love, but we're here to change that. The key to a great Gibson is to make your own pickled onions; the flavor and texture of homemade just can't be beat, and you will also have extra to add to your next cheese board, salad, or sandwich. We might call for adding just one onion to each martini, but don't let that stop you from sneaking in a few more into your glass.

Gibson Martini
Photo: Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Food Styling by Ruth Blackburn / Prop Styling by Christina Daley
Active Time:
25 mins
Refrigerate Time:
3 days
Total Time:
3 days 1 hrs 25 mins


For the pickled onions:

  • 1 pound fresh white pearl onions, root ends trimmed, keeping root intact

  • ¾ cup rice vinegar

  • ¾ cup water

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns

  • 1 tablespoon juniper berries, slightly smashed using flat side of a knife

  • 1 medium garlic clove, halved

For the Martinis:

  • 1 cup (8 ounces) gin (such as Spirit of Hven)

  • ½ cup (4 ounces) dry vermouth (such as Dolin)

  • 2 tablespoons onion pickling liquid

  • 8 cups ice


Make the pickled onions:

  1. Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil over high. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender-crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain and place in a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process, changing the water once, about 30 seconds. Remove skins from onions and discard. Transfer peeled onions to a quart-sized glass container with a lid.

  2. Bring vinegar, 3/4 cup water, sugar, salt, peppercorns, juniper, and garlic to a simmer in a small saucepan over high, stirring until sugar and salt is dissolved. Remove from heat; pour mixture over onions in container. Let cool 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 days or up to 1 month.

Make the martinis:

  1. Pour 1/4 cup (2 ounces) gin, 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) vermouth, and 1/2 tablespoon pickling liquid from onion mixture over 2 cups ice in a large measuring cup or mixing glass and stir for 1 minute. Strain into a martini glass, and garnish with a pickled onion. Empty mixing glass and repeat mixing process for remaining 3 Martinis.

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