One of the things I am sure to mention at least once in any mixing course I teach is that what people think of today as the ‘classic Martini’ [dry gin, dry vermouth, no bitters, stirred through ice, strained into the goblet and garnished with a pickled green olive] was more-originally called the Gibson. Often someone will say that they thought the Gibson was “a Martini with an onion in it” [instead of the olive]. That’s to be expected — I was taught the same thing years ago. At that point I show the historical record of the Gibson, to indicate that there being no bitters in the drink was much more important to its identity than the olive (yes, olive — not onion) that was the earliest-mentioned garniture for the drink. The slide show starts with the following image.
But what of “a Martini with an onion?” Where did that come from?
Maybe it came from the Hanford Cocktail.
I found this drink mentioned in the Saturday, July 13th, 1912 edition of the Tacoma Times.
All those so-called Gibsons might actually be more historically accurate if called Hanfords!