My favorite mixed drink is the Gibson.
Here’s the recipe:
2 oz. Gin.
2 drops vermouth
1 pearl onion
Here’s the story the way I heard it: There was an American diplomat named Gibson. At embassy bun-fights he had a method of staying sober while everyone else got looped. He’d be drinking plain water out of a martini glass. To mark which one was his, the bartender would put an onion in the glass rather than an olive.
On one occasion, someone asked for “Whatever Gibson’s drinking.” The bartender, thinking fast, just made a martini and put in an onion. Thus was the drink born.
The Gibson (a martini with an onion) is my favorite drink. How to tell if I’ve been there: look at the bar tab. Is there a Gibson listed?
So. Of late there’s been a problem. There I was at my daughter’s wedding last month. There I was in a Holiday Inn in western Pennsylvania, in Williamsport. I ordered a Gibson at the bar.
“I’m sorry, sir,” said the bartender. “We don’t have any onions.”
Tonight, here I am in Timonium, Maryland (for Darkovercon), at the Holiday Inn. Friggin’ bar in the friggin’ lobby is called “The Martini Bar.” And you know what? No onions. “We haven’t had any in ten years,” says the bartender.
What’s up with that?
Out in Williamsport I walked over to the Wegman’s down the road and bought a couple of jars of onions that I donated to the bar. Am I going to do that here? Am I going to have to carry a bottle of cocktail onions with me?
These days they have all kinds of “martinis.” Sour-apple martinis. Lemon martinis. Chocolate martinis. Anything they can put in a martini glass, they call it a martini.
Why can’t I get a Gibson?