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The Gibson; wet, shaken, up.

The Gibson; shaken, up.

Happy National Martini Day!  If you’re not in my Nation, congratulations and feel free to join in!

My way of celebrating National Martini Day is to have my favorite Martini Variation: The Gibson.

Hugh S. Gibson, teetotaler.

Hugh S. Gibson, teetotaler.

My favorite -completely unconfirmed- story of this Martini variation stars Hugh Simons Gibson. In the words of Assistant Secretary of State Huntington Wilson, for whom he worked in 1911, Gibson was “a blithe spirit radiated a whimsical humor that was just what the department, too dour in its application of business, needed.”  His humor never compromised his professionalism nor effectiveness, but rather, served to make things easier in tense situations.
Gibson was something of a teetotaler.  Nonetheless, he wanted to keep up appearances with his martini-swilling colleagues in the State Department. His solution: fill his glass with water and mark it with an cocktail onion, so as not to lose track of it.

The cocktail evolved into what it is because of the assumption that it was a watered-down Martini with cocktail onions.

Even though I repeatedly make the assertion that I like a full measure of Dry Vermouth in my Gibson Martini, I measured it out… and, I actually prefer it at 4:1 to 6:1.
I mentioned at the top of the month that I’d be breaking rules.  I’ve broken two in this one recipe: semi-dry Gibson (which is always made with a full-measure of Dry Vermouth) that’s shaken (always stir clear drinks, never shake).

So, here’s how I make it:

The Gibson Martini (on the BoozeGuru’s terms)

  • 3 ounces Beefeater Gin
  • 1/2 ounce Martini Dry Vermouth

Fill your Boston Shaker half way with ice.
Add all ingredients to the shaker.
Shake until your hands hurt from the cold; then shake for ten seconds longer.
Strain and serve Up in a chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish with two cocktail onions.
Sit in your favorite lounge chair,
Turn on some Red Garland,
Kick back, and…


And Happy Martini Day!