As you well know, we love a good cocktail story. One of our all-time favorites is a tale about the Gibson. We’ve heard this myth bandied about by some of Boston’s most knowledgeable bar stars. Is it fact or fiction? Who cares—we’re drinking.
The Gibson is essentially a martini garnished with cocktail onions. As the story goes, a savvy investment banker named Gibson, in cahoots with his waiter and barman, used the cocktail as a ploy during business negotiations. While meeting to discuss business, as his potential partners ordered a round of martinis, Gibson would announce: “I’d like a Gibson.” This cued his server to bring him nothing more than a glass of water garnished with cocktail onions. As you can imagine, after two or three rounds of drinks as negotiations wore on, Gibson had the upper hand. The servers always knew he’d closed the deal when he said: “Now, sir, I’d like a martini.”
The Gibson cocktail traces its roots to San Francisco—this much we know to be true—but there are numerous personas linked to the story. The drink was a hot ticket by 1904.
We’ve recently been enjoying the Gibson made with Nolet’s gin, a gorgeous gin that’s recently become available in Boston. Sample one of these at home, or at Eastern Standard, where the house-pickled onions are reason enough to order a Gibson.
Adapted from Imbibe! by David Wondrich
1.5 oz Nolet’s Finest Gin
1.5 oz dry vermouth
Stir ingredients with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cocktail onion.