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onion martini

Martini is a very famous basic cocktail that is available in almost every club and bar. Usually, Gin and vermouth are used and the drink is garnished with an olive or lemon. Martini in its essence is simple, elegant and versatile. However, like every other famous drink, Martini also has variations and one of them is the Cocktail onion martini.

Today, our article is all about cocktail onion martini, how it is made and everything else!

The Gibson Martini with an Onion 

Cocktail onion martini is known as Gibson martini. With time Martini has evolved in many loved ways. The drink has a flavourful crispy palette. The Gibson aka onion martini is one of the variations of Martini. The cocktail is special because it uses pickled onion as a garnish. Per stories, this cocktail was invented by Gibson, an illustrator of Gibson Girl. He asked the bartender for a twist and the bartender served him with Martini garnished with onion. Another popular story suggests that some cranky boss invented this cocktail to differentiate his drink from colleagues. Anyway! whatever. We love it.

Cocktail Onion Martini Recipe

The recipe is very easy. You will need

  • 2 1/2 ounces gin
  • 1/2 ounce dry vermouth and
  • 1-2 cocktail onions for garnish

To make the drink

  • Fill the glass with ice.
  • Add the gin and dry vermouth to the mixing glass.
  • Stir them gently for about 30 seconds.
  • Pour the mixture into a Martini glass.
  • Garnish with onions.

You can also use vodka instead of Gin. Just make sure you use high-quality spirits.

drink with onion decoration
drink with onion decoration

Why Use an Onion in a Martini?

Onion is a bit different and somewhat seems an awkward choice for a garnish too. So why use onion in a martini? well, first it has a very distinct flavour. Onion adds a subtle, tangy flavour that contrasts with the crispness of the gin and vermouth. So onion makes the drink a little bit complex in terms of flavour.

Also, onion provides a very different and appealing aesthetic to the drink. It visibly differentiates the drink and sets it apart. The onion used in a cocktail is marinated with spices, salt and vinegar.

Vermouth In Cocktail Onion Martini

Vermouth is a basic ingredient in Martini. It has slightly bitter and herbal notes. With more vermouth, Martini is a “wet Martini” and with less vermouth, Martini is a dry Martini.

Gin In Martini

Gin gives a crisp finish to the Martini. Usually, London dry gin is used which gives this Martini a Juniper forward flavour. Variant Gins will give different botanical flavours to the cocktail. You can customize it with different flavours.

How To Make Onions For Cocktail Onion Martini

You can buy readymade onions from stores as they are more convenient but sometimes making your onion at home is another level of happiness.

To make your onions at home you require

  • 1 cup pearl onions, peeled
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 bay leaf


  • Put pearl onions in boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Mix the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, mustard seeds, and bay leaf. Boil so that sugar and salt dissolve.
  • Simmer the onions for 5 minutes in this mixture.
  • Save the onions in pickling liquid and sterilized jar and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before using.

The drink must be served on ice as it will enhance the overall experience and taste of the drink. Also, while making, the proper shaking and stirring techniques allow the drink to keep its flavour without getting diluted. However, the famous James Bond order of the “Shaken, Not Stirred” martini has been a complete game changer and the most famous order in cocktail history.

Other Variations on the Classic Gibson

martini variations
martini variations
  • Substitute vodka for gin to create a smoother, less botanical flavour. You can use both vodka and Gin too. For example in a vesper Martini, lemon twist and lillet blanc along with Gin and Vodka give the drink a crisp fruity and floral note. 
  • Add a splash of the pickling brine from the cocktail onions to the mix for an extra tangy kick. Dirty martini is best for this customization. Its flavour profile becomes savoury, salty and briny. 
  • You may add a twist of lemon or a dash of orange bitters to brighten up the drink. It can create a clean crisp flavour. You can also use this technique in a classic martini. 

What Makes Gibson Different From Other Martinis?

The only difference is its garnishing, the Onion. Other Martinis usually use lemon as a garnish but substituting it with one simple slice of onion can transform the taste and flavour profile magically. Although pearl onion looks cute you can also substitute it with normal onion for the same flavour.

Gibson or onion martini is a very powerful drink and must be consumed in moderation. Consume any alcohol base cocktail within the limit for health and safety. Never drive after having a martini for more than the recommended daily limit.

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Drinks And Cocktails,Nightlife,Tips
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