A gold-hued Gibson gets its sunny color—and heady fragrance—from pearl onions pickled in champagne vinegar and a mixture of saffron, bay leaves, and juniper berries.

This recipe is part of our fresh spring dinner party menu.
Servings: Makes 1 cup onions, enough for 8 to 10 drinks
Cocktail onions:
  • 1 cup white pearl onions
  • 2 cups champagne vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp. juniper berries
  • 2 1/2 ounces gin
  • 1/2 ounce dry vermouth
  • Splash of cocktail onion liquid
  • 2 or 3 cocktail onions
Note: The directions here show how to make a single drink. Increase the amounts depending on how many cocktails you plan to serve.

Boil 3 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Add onions and boil 1 minute; strain. Peel when cool enough to handle.

Put vinegar, sugar, saffron threads, bay leaves, and juniper berries in the saucepan over medium-low heat; stir until sugar dissolves. Add onions, increase heat, and bring to a boil; cook 1 minute, remove from heat, and cool in pan. When room temperature, transfer contents to a container and chill in the refrigerator. It's best to marinate onions for at least 1 week. They can be stored for up to 2 months.

To make a drink, place ice in a cocktail shaker. Add gin, vermouth, and onion liquid. Shake and strain into a glass. Spear 2 or 3 onions on a pick, and add to glass.


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