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Pickled Pearl Onions and a Gibson Martini


Tiny pearl onions are lightly pickled for an elegant cocktail garnish with real bite or for serving with Charcuterie…

Pickled Pearl Onions and a Gibson Martini Recipe

Great to serve with Charcuterie... as Angela writes “both the onions and the brine can be very useful in the kitchen, for adding to a casserole or the like. Their classic use is in the Gibson martini, where a little of the brine is added to the drink too.”
Luckily for us, she includes the cocktail recipe.


For the Pickled Pearl Onions

  • 250g pearl onions (choose the smallest ones)
  • 200ml white wine vinegar
  • 9 juniper berries
  • ½ teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 bay leaf ¼ teaspoon thyme leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fine salt
  • 2 broad strips of orange zest
  • 75ml dry vermouth

You will need: a sterilized glass storage jar with a capacity of 500ml.

For the Gibson Martini

  • 75ml gin
  • 2 teaspoons dry vermouth
  • ¾ teaspoon cocktail onion brine
  • cocktail onions



  1. Peel the onions by immersing them in a bowl of boiling water for 1 minute. Drain, then trim off the tops and bottoms and the skins should slide off easily. Set the peeled onions aside.
  2. Put all the ingredients except the onions and the vermouth into a pan. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, then add the onions to the pan for 1 minute. Take off the heat and allow to cool.
  3. Add the vermouth and transfer it all to the prepared jar. Seal and store in the fridge.

The onions will be ready to use in a week and will keep for months in the fridge.

To make the Gibson martini….

Fill a cocktail tin (or tall glass or jug) with lots of ice. Pour over the gin, vermouth and the brine from the jar of cocktail onions. Stir over the ice for a minute, then strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a cocktail onion dropped into the glass, or three on a cocktail stick.

Further Information

Angela Clutton

Who is... Angela Clutton?

Angela Clutton is a food writer, food historian and professional cook. She writes regularly for Market Life, Borough Market’s magazine and hosts their hugely popular Cookbook Club and the Borough Talks podcast. This year she is also the Guest Director of the British Library’s ‘Food Season’.

Read her book...

Her first book The Vinegar Cupboard published in March 2019 has deservedly won a ton of prizes including The Jane Grigson Trust Award and ‘Debut Cookery Book’ at the Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards. A fascinating read, it provides a true insight to every aspect of Vinegar and covers its history, origins, usage and an intriguing range of vinegar-based recipes.

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