Gibson martini


What you’ll need

  • 2 oz Last Garden gin
  • 0.25 oz Vermouth Seco Casa
  • 3 pickled pearl onions
Gibson martini with 3 pickled onions

James Bond drinking a shaken martini

We all know and love the Martini. Anyone who is anyone has watched James Bond, knows how he drinks his martini, and let’s be honest, is just a wee bit curious about the drink.

So let’s break it down. 

What’s a Martini?

Yes, let’s begin here. If you think you know what a martini is, you probably don’t.

The martini that you’ve probably heard of through Mr Bond is shaken, and it’s called a Vesper. It’s a mix of gin, vodka and specifically a Lillet Blanc. Whereas if you order a martini in Europe, you’ll most likely get asked whether you want it red or white. Thanks, Martini & Rossi.

But in most necks of the woods, you’ll usually get asked 3 questions when you order a martini:

    1. Do you want it with gin or vodka?
    2. Shaken or stirred?
    3. And your preference of dry, extra dry, wet, dirty or even extra dirty

Gin or Vodka

It really depends on what is preferred. However I will suggest using the smoothest vodka you have, nothing overproofed. It’s the same with gin as well, choose something that has the same characteristics as a London dry gin, nothing more than 90 proof – even though a flowery gin with the right vermouth can give birth to an extraordinary drink.

So how do you find the proof of a spirit?

Look at the bottle. You’ll find the alcohol percentage mentioned on the label. For instance, if your label says your spirit is 35% alc/vol, it’s proof is 70 (ie, 2x alcohol percentage).

Shaken or Stirred

If you’re someone who likes their cocktail ice-cold, you’d probably want it shaken, like Mr Bond. In fact, when you shake a cocktail with ice, you must be prepared for the dilution that accompanies it. The air that you bring in to your cocktail when you shake it ends up stressing the spirit, disturbing its texture and composition. Be careful how long you shake your ingredients, so you minimize the dilution and composition change.

If you’d prefer a stiff drink, stir your cocktail with ice – you’ll get something sharper and delicate.

Dry, Wet or Dirty

The drier you like your cocktail, the more boozy it will be. The wetter you go, the more diluted with white vermouth your martini shall be. Here’s a rough guideline for you to follow if you’re delving into making martinis for yourself, friends and family.

Martini with olivesDry = 2 oz Spirit + 0.25 oz vermouth

Extra Dry = 2 oz Spirit + 1bar spoon of white  dry vermouth (For martinis made with vodka, add a dash of cranberry bitters, whereas for gin, add a dash of grapefruit bitters)

Wet = 2 oz Spirit + 0.5 oz

Dirty = 2 oz Spirit + 1 bar spoon of white vermouth + 1 bar spoon of olive brine

Extra Dirty = 2 oz Spirit + 1 bar spoon of white vermouth + 2 bar spoons or 0.25 oz  of olive brine. For my very dirty readers, if you like things very very dirty, I recommend you try a Gibson, thank me later 🙂  For vodka, add a dash of cranberry bitters, while for gin, add a dash of grapefruit bitters



Most dry and wet martinis are garnished with a lemon twist. But if you’re making a dirty martini, add 3 olives, not 2, not 1 either. But anything upwards of 3 is desired.

The Gibson

That’s enough chit chat about the Martini family. Let’s talk about the Gibson.

It is basically a dry gin martini, stirred, with pickled onions as the garnish. Add a bar spoon of the pickled onion brine to increase your appetite – or add 1 bar spoon of crème de violette if you need a spring twist before your boogy dance.

You may also use vodka instead of gin, but you’ll get more subtleties and layers using gin. However, if you don’t like gin, I wouldn’t hold it against you, you can prepare a Gibson with Vodka, after all, you’re drinking it.

Like I mentioned earlier, a floral gin with the right Vermouth, can make something spectacular. That’s why I make my Gibsons with Last Garden Gin. It’s made with a delightful amount of elderflower and the final cocktail is out of this world.

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Recipe Instructions

Step 1

Add ice to a mixing glass.

Step 2

Add Vermouth and stir.

Step 3

Discard the Vermouth, but keep the ice.

Step 4

Add gin and stir.

Step 5

Double strain into a martini glass.

Step 6

Add 3 pickled pearl onions as garnish to give your drink an earthy, light onion flavour. Serve.


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