Similar to the classic dry martini, the Gibson is a simple martini made with gin or vodka and garnished with pearl onions. It also seems to have been created in the early 1900s by Charles Dana Gibson of “Gibson Girl” fame, although alternatively, its creation is attributed to various bankers named Gibson.
Other stories indicate that a bartender was instructed to fill a martini glass with water and insert a cocktail onion instead of an olive to indicate which drink could be downed to fool drinking companions. The reasons alternated between a teetotaler’s effort to avoid awkward social situations to a savvy investment banker’s ploy to remain sober during the proverbial three-martini business lunch while his clients became intoxicated.
Be sure to select a superior gin or vodka since the martini is, in essence, straight liquor. The quality is far more noticeable than it would be in a tall drink that contained fruit juices or carbonated water. For one Gibson:
4 oz. gin or vodka
Splash of dry vermouth
3 cocktail onions
Fill a chilled shaker with ice cubes. Add a splash of dry vermouth, swirl it around to coat the walls and pour it out. Add 4 oz. gin or vodka into shaker. Shake vigorously and quickly. Strain it to the rim of a chilled martini glass. Garnish with 3 cocktail onions on a cocktail pick. Voila! Elegance in a cocktail glass!