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December 23, 2009

Five Great Sips and Sweet #3: The Gibson

Filed under: Five Great... — Miss Plumcake @ 6:10 pm

Few things enrage me as much as fake martinis do.

Heck, I’m still fighting against the idea of using vodka in a martini.

To me a martini is three things: gin, vermouth and olives, and it’s stirred.  Shaking a martini bruises the gin, and bruised gin –as I’m sure is written in the bible somewhere– makes the Baby Jesus cry.

A Gibson is perhaps the oldest and certainly the most respectable version of the classic martini. It is also my drink of choice, partly because it’s delightful and partly because my dear departed grandfather was a Gibson man through and through.

Gibsons are a bit more generous with the vermouth than the modern dry martinis, which are essentially glasses of gin with olives in them. Not that there’s anything wrong with glasses of gin, it’s the breakfast of champions, but it’s not really a martini.


The Gibson
4 oz. premium gin
1/2 oz. dry white vermouth
3 cocktail onions

Stir (DO NOT SHAKE) gin and vermouth in a metal cocktail shaker until frost forms on the outside of the shaker. Strain into a martini glass, add cocktail onions on a toothpick.


  1. Actually, the ingredients of martini shaken together are properly known as a “Bradford”–a different drink than a martini. I suspect that Ian Fleming was a smart enough marketer to know that most of his readers wouldn’t be cocktail-literate enough to recognize a Bradford when his connoisseur spy ordered one, whereas a martini ordered “off the menu” would strike just the right, snobby tone.

    I’ve always wondered about the science behind actually “bruising” gin, but all of that said, shaken and stirred beverages tend to be pretty different drinks, and unless you are dealing with a good bartender (which are in short supply anymore, like good secretaries), shaken tends to yield a better vodka drink in my opinion. It’s too easy to do a bad mix on a stirred drink with a rushed/careless/palateless bartender and that’s one reason why I think some tend towards cocktails that are shaken rather stirred any more–shaken drinks are easier to mix well.


    I prefer gin to vodka any day, definitely stirred, though I do like me a Grey Goose gimlet. But shaken, I’m afraid. However, I’d rather have a gin drink.

    Anybody got time for a quick one? I’m obviously faffing today on the site and guessing on Whose Shoes rather than doing anything to get ready for my party tomorrow…

    Comment by Lisa — December 23, 2009 @ 6:41 pm

  2. Will give this drink a try! Sounds like I can handle it! happy Holidays!

    Comment by A Few Goody Gumdrops — December 23, 2009 @ 6:45 pm

  3. Modern gin cannot be bruised, it is not made in the same way as gin from days past that could be bruised.

    Comment by Lorraine — December 23, 2009 @ 11:00 pm

  4. Fortunately, several years ago I blogged on the science of shaken vs stirred Martinis. The bottom line: shaken Martinis get you drunk faster and have a higher antioxidant count. Stirred Martinis prove your bar doesn’t rush things and are prettier to look at.

    Also, Hendrick’s gin with a twist of lime or a single organic rose petal. Plymouth at a stretch.

    Comment by raincoaster — December 24, 2009 @ 1:27 am

  5. Here’s the British Medical Journal’s reportage on the great Shaken vs Stirred Debate:

    Comment by raincoaster — December 24, 2009 @ 1:31 am

  6. I want to try the drink.

    Comment by Ed hardy shop — December 24, 2009 @ 4:30 am

  7. I’m glad to know that science has been occupying itself with truly significant questions. :-)

    Comment by Lisa — December 24, 2009 @ 4:37 am

  8. Another martini traditionalist here; gin, vermouth, olives, stirred. And only ever odd numbers of olives, thank you.

    Comment by Fatadelic — December 24, 2009 @ 6:36 am

  9. Here’s the British Medical Journal’s reportage on the great Shaken vs Stirred Debate

    If this hasn’t won an IgNoble prize yet, I hope it’s at least been in the running.

    Comment by daisyj — December 24, 2009 @ 2:57 pm

  10. There can be nothing ignoble about a martini!

    Comment by raincoaster — December 25, 2009 @ 1:25 am

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