Cocktail of the Week – The Gibson

As I’ve probably mentioned in this blog before, most of the trends and fashions that occupy us today are doomed will be forgotten in a few dozen years (making them pointless ephemera, I suppose.) 

Similarly, we’ve mostly forgotten things that grasped the popular imagination of yesteryear, which is a shame in many cases.

Take, for instance, the Gibson Girl.

Back at the end of the nineteenth century, she was the idealised It Girl of the American people. Beautiful, intelligent, elegant (and with really good hair), women wanted to be like her and men wanted to meet her. Her image appeared on “saucers, ashtrays, tablecloths, pillow covers, chair covers, souvenir spoons, screens, fans, umbrella stands”.

But she wasn’t a real person – she was simply a character in sketches by the illustrator Charles Dana Gibson. I think it’s another example of how the past is very different from today – with our current obsession with “reality” I doubt that today’s “It Girl” could be a fictional creation (or rather at least an overtly fictional creation.)

But what does this have to do with cocktails? Well apart from creating the Gibson Girl (and being the brother-in-law to Britain’s first woman MP) Charles Dana Gibson also created the Gibson cocktail.

It’s effectively a dry gin Martini with a pickled onion in it as garnish. As I’ve covered Martinis twice before, you may wonder why I’m coming back to them again.


a) I like pickled onions;

b) I like Martinis.

So it would be foolish not to make it, really. 

The Gibson

1/2 msr dry vermouth

2 1/2 msr gin

2 cocktail onions

Spear the onions with a cocktail stick and place into a Martini glass. Add ice, gin and vermouth to cocktail shaker and shake vigorously.  Pour into the glass.

Technically, a Gibson should be stirred, not shaken, but I prefer the cloudy effect shaking gives, particularly the way it sets off against the white of the onion.


About pointlessephemera

Blogging about the geekier end of popular culture...
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