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Gibson martini

Angela Clutton

A classic cocktail with an elegant pearl onion garnish

Recipe Meta


10 mins (plus 1 week pickling)




Makes 1 x 500ml jar of onions




For the pickled onions

  • 250g pearl onions, the smallest ones
  • 200ml white wine vinegar
  • 9 juniper berries
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • ¼ tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • ¼ tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tsp fine salt
  • 2 broad strips of orange zest
  • 75ml dry vermouth

For the gibson martini

  • 75ml gin
  • 2 tsp dry vermouth
  • ¾ tsp cocktail onion brine
  • Cocktail onions


  • 1 x 500ml capacity storage jar, sterilised


Peel the onions by immersing them in a bowl of boiling water for 1 min. Drain them, trim off their tops and bottoms, and the skins should slide off easily. Set the peeled onions aside.

Put all the other pickling ingredients except the vermouth into a pan. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, then add the onions into the pan for 1 min. Take off the heat and allow to cool. Add the vermouth and transfer it all to a clean jar. Seal and store in the fridge. They will be ready to use in 1 week and will keep for months.

To make a gibson martini, fill a cocktail tin (or tall glass or jug) with lots of ice. Pour over the gin, vermouth and the brine from the jar of cocktail onions. Stir over the ice for 1 min and then strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a cocktail onion dropped into the glass, or three on a cocktail stick.

Image: Orlando Gili

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