Once upon a time I didn't know any better. We've all been there. I know better now. I (believe) I continue to improve. My tastes have changed, which I think happens to everyone as they age. Literally too! Ones tongue must age along with the rest of us, mustn't it? There was a time when I didn't much care for olives, but these days they're a favourite. I did often enjoy a lemon twist back then though. I found a smoothness that improved my enjoyment of a drink. Sourness was always something I enjoyed...
I don't recall how I came to know of it. I don't know if it pre-dated my acquisition of C. Schumann's American Bar but somehow I came to appreciate the pickled onion as a garnish. Being a neophyte I figured a Gibson was just a Martini with and onion. In fact I may have erroneously believed that the drink began life at a steakhouse in Chicago. I put the blame for my mistaken beliefs squarely on a promotional "recipe book" from Smirnoff.
Over time I have realised some things about my booze-blogging. As I never set out with any particular intent for this blog when it became more about drinks and less about me there was no clear style to uphold. Firstly I realised that I am not a cocktail historian. As much as I enjoyed reading the claims and the apocryphal stories of origin I had neither the means nor the training to delve so deep. So I tried various attempts at aping other blogs and ultimately, somehow, arrived at my own style. Alright, that's not actually "some things". But it brings us somewhere...
There are stories of men named Gibson. There are stories of how gin and sweet vermouth and bitters metamorphosed into the icon of chill. I'm not going to present these stories here. I've read what I've read. I know what I know. You think, as I once did, that a Gibson is a Martini with an onion. (Well, okay, not all of you!) But that's backwards. A Martini? It needs bitters. That extra extra dry drink we're all supposed to be too hip to actually drink anymore? It's a Gibson..., without an onion.
So, if you want have a vermouth cocktail go ahead. They're delicious! Especially with orange juice, but I digress. To truly appreciate the Gibson use more vermouth than Churchill would but less than, say, you might get in Madrid. Chill it until your mixing glass frosts and then begs for mercy. Strain, or double strain, into a chilled coupe or cocktail glass... But wait! If you like surprises and evolving flavours place the onion in the glass first. If you prefer a little brine floating on top then drop the onion in. Drink it while it's still laughing at you. Enjoy the chill. Eat the onion! No, really, crunch that thing! Now make another, or better still: eat your dinner.
Oh, a recipe? Alright...
2oz London Dry Gin
0.25tsp-0.25oz Dry Vermouth
Chill rotationally with much conviction. Seive. Enjoy!
ps Thank you to Mssrs. Yarm and Clarke.