The Gibson Martini is Ready for Its Closeup

Martinis have made a big comeback over the last few years. Classic martinis, dirty martinis, vodka martinis, appletinis, espresso martinis and, of course, the all-essential Quarentinis of 2020. But there’s one version of this iconic cocktail that’s still waiting in the wings for the attention it deserves, and that’s The Gibson.

At our recent Immunity Cocktails and Crisis Pickles Explorer Event, Master Mixologist and founder of Denver’s Williams & Grand, Sean Kenyon, taught us what makes this version of the classic cocktail so unique. Turns out it’s not the gin or vodka, or even the splash of dry vermouth: it’s the unexpected pickled onion garnish that sets The Gibson so far apart from its other ‘tini relations.

Cocktail onions have gotten a bad rap lately, which may be one of the reasons the drink has faded from the spotlight. Back when bars pickled their own onions, the savory flavor added a richness to the beverage that today’s corn-syrup-heavy store-bought garnishes can’t begin to compete with. But more bars these days are trying to correct that by brining their own onions in-house – something that you can easily try at home if you’re looking to really elevate your cocktail game.

No one knows for sure exactly how The Gibson got its name, though there’s a lot of speculation. We could spend all day reading the numerous theories surrounding its origins, or we could whip up this recipe and enjoy our new favorite cocktail instead. Pretty sure you know which option we’ll choose.


The Gibson – courtesy of Sean Kenyon

-2 oz Woody Creek Distillers Vodka
-1 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth
-Vermouth pearl onion

Combine vodka and vermouth in a cocktail mixing glass. Add ice and stir. Strain into chilled martini glass and garnish with onion.



A third-generation bartender, Sean Kenyon was named American Bartender of the Year in 2014. His Denver-based modern-day speakeasy, Williams & Graham, is also a prize winner – It was named Best American Bar at the Spirited Awards, proving that even small business can get garner accolades. | @williamsandgraham

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