In a time when Mad Men-style cocktails are experiencing a modern renaissance, the classic Gibson still stands as one of the manliest tipples out there: gin with dry vermouth stirred well and strained into a chilled martini glass, garnished with a pickled onion.
Like so many cocktail origin stories, the Gibson is shrouded in mystery. But the likeliest point of origin comes in the 1890s when prominent San Francisco businessman Walter D.K. Gibson supposedly concocted the cocktail that bears his name at the Bohemian Club. Though the origin may be foggy, there is no dispute with its Hollywood prominence, first getting its close-up when Carey Grant ordered one while enjoying dinner with Eva Marie Saint in the classic 1959 film North by Northwest, solidifying its Hollywood lore. Now, the Gibson’s popularity has been bolstered by Mad Men character Roger Sterling, who is none to shy from ordering one, or a dozen, during the one-hour episodes.
- 2 oz. Gin
- ½ oz. Dry Vermouth
Garnish: Pickled onion
Preparation: Combine ingredients into a mixing glass with ice. Stir well and strain into a chilled martini glass.
Putting the adage “imitation is the most sincere form of flattery” to the test, here we put a modern twist on the classic Gibson. The recipe utilizes a Swedish potato vodka base that adds a little complexity and subtle flavors that are brought out by an exquisite garnish: steak and potatoes. The brine of the pickled onion plays off the sweetness of the Lillet Blanc, while the starch of the potato brings out the smoothness of the vodka. The steak stimulates the saliva to enhance all the flavors. Enjoy!
- 2 oz. Karlsson’s Gold Vodka
- ¼ oz. Dry Vermouth
- ½ oz. Lillet Blanc
Garnish: Pickled onion, grilled potato piece and small cube of seared steak sprinkled with herbs
Preparation: Rinse the ice in a mixing glass with Lillet Blanc. (Fill mixing glass with ice. Pour Lillet Blanc over the ice. Stir for a moment, then strain the Lillet Blanc out of the mixing glass.) Pour remaining ingredients into mixing glass. Stir well and strain into a snifter half filled with ice.
Charles Steadman has long been guiding South Florida’s cocktail culture. A Untied States Bartenders Guild member, Steadman’s experiences behind the shaker have taken him across the globe, working on various gigs for Remy Cointreau, Grand Marnier, Marriott and Waldorf Astoria hotels as well as a milieu of restaurants and special events.
Now, as director of Luxe Libations, a full-service bar company concentrating in cocktail creation, costing, presentation and training for events and businesses, Steadman is using his personal cocktail style—a cross between classic and contemporary—to continuing to develop and enhance South Florida’s cocktail scene.