Unique Gibson Martini You Shouldn't Make Any Onion Way

Like onions, this powerful Gibson martini has layers. Take your tastebuds on a wild ride with this unique spin on a beloved favorite.

Updated February 12, 2024
Classic Gibson Martini

The Gibson martini may seem a bit of an unconventional twist thanks to its onion garnish, but trust us when we say that this pungent topper is the drink's MVP. The pickled onion garnish is a tasty surprise that adds another layer of flavor to this well-balanced cocktail. Once you get a taste, you'll realize that there's no onion way to have a martini. 

How to Make a Gibson Martini 

This turn-of-the-century cocktail might have an apocryphal origin story, but no matter how a pickled onion found its way into the mix it's made for a long-lasting barfly secret. Explore the unexpectedly satisfying salty flavors in this easy-to-mix recipe.  



  1. Chill a martini glass or coupe.
  2. In a mixing glass, add ice, gin, and dry vermouth.
  3. Stir rapidly to chill.
  4. Strain into chilled glass.
  5. Garnish with a cocktail onion.
Quick Tip

Turn this into a dirty martini by adding a splash (or more) of olive brine. The brine will mix beautifully with the pickled onion for a robust nightcap. 

Related: Make Different Types of Martinis From Bone-Dry to Dirty

4 Variations and Substitutions to Try 

Like its cousin the classic martini, you don't want to deviate too much from the original recipe lest you lose what makes it special. But there are still a few options you can try. 

  • Add a single dash of orange or lemon bitters for a slight citrus flavor.
  • Use less vermouth for a drier martini.
  • For an even drier martini, rinse the glass with dry vermouth then discard it.
  • Try different types of gin like London dry, Plymouth, Old Tom, or Genever.

Garnishes to Top Things Off 

What makes a Gibson martini a Gibson martini is the quirky onion garnish. While you don't want to skimp on the main event, complement its flavors with these added garnishes. 

  • Add a lemon peel alongside the cocktail onion.
  • Add a few olives alongside the cocktail onion.
  • Consider skewering blue cheese-stuffed olives with cocktail onions.

We Wouldn't Make It Any Onion Way 

Unlike typical red or white onions, cocktail onions have a savory-sweet taste. While popping one in your mouth on its own might not sound appealing, they're a tasty thing to nibble on at the end of your Gibson martini. We don't like to play it safe when it comes to cocktails and this one proves you shouldn't either. 

Unique Gibson Martini You Shouldn't Make Any Onion Way