Poor Toms Fool Strength Gibson Martini


After a dry martini with a twist, The Gibson is my most ordered martini. It’s not as popular as some styles and that’s a shame in my opinion. This martini is garnished with a silver skinned cocktail onion. Some bartenders might add a little of the onion brine to the drink.

Bette Davis was slinging back the Gibsons in the 1950 classic ‘All About Eve’, right before she uttered the immortal line “Fasten your seat belts, we’re in for a bumpy night”. Let’s face it, if it’s good enough for Bette, it’s good enough for you.


In Jared Brown and Anastasia Miller’s book Shaken not Stirred, there are plenty of stories about the origin of the Gibson, including the one suggesting that it was named after Charles Dana Gibson and American illustrator and creator of the Gibson Girl. However, it’s likely that is was created for businessman Walter D.K.Gibson around 1898 at the Bohemian Bar in San Francisco.

One of the most wonderful combinations I ever tasted was created by Geoff Fewell during his time at Lui Bar (he’s now moved on to Boilermaker House). He used Botanic Australis gin, Castagna vermouth and garnished with some of Vue de Monde‘s house-made pickled onions. It was mind-blowingly good.

Lui Bar Gibson martini
Lui Bar Gibson martini

Gibsons are supremely savoury and utterly delicious, but don’t forget to pack the breath mints!

Ironbark Wattleseed gin Gibson Martini
Ironbark Wattleseed gin Gibson Martini

Ingredients for a Gibson

60ml gin

30ml dry vermouth

silver-skinned cocktail onions

tsp of onion brine if desired


Add ingredients to a mixing glass, add ice and stir for 45-50 seconds. Double strain into a chilled glass and garnish with 1-3 silver-skinned cocktail onions, or pickled if you prefer.



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