Extra pickling brine became a very happy accident in Rebecca Orchant’s cocktailing life.
By Rebecca Orchant
Remember when I pickled everything in my apartment yesterday? Remember how some pickled okra left a crazy amount of extra brine? I poured it over these to make my favorite cocktail garnish to date.
Let’s talk Gibsons for a moment. A Gibson is basically a classic gin martini, garnished with a pickled onion instead of an olive. The perk? No one ever asks if you want that Gibson made with vodka or with gin. They just KNOW.
To date, a caperberry (although I realize not authentic to the recipe) has been my favorite garnish for this cocktail. Sort of falls somewhere between a cocktail onion and an olive. Here’s why this started happening: aside from a few notable exceptions (Odin’s Onions being one, but they are still a bit hard to find), the pickled cocktail onions on the market taste like chemicals and salt. They’re awful. They don’t deserve to be in your cocktail. They don’t deserve to LOOK at your cocktail. The Gibson is so simple and perfect, it requires a hell of a garnish to stand up to it.
Here’s what I want you to do: add 2 1/4 oz. gin (I love Beefeater, but in something like this where the gin is the star, Hendrick’s would be lovely) and 3/4 oz. dry vermouth to a cocktail shaker filled with ice and STIR, babies, stir. Do not shake. Strain into a cocktail glass, and add a tomato and an onion from the following recipe. You are so welcome.
- Enough cherry tomatoes and peeled pearl onions to fill a pint jar
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 sprigs tarragon
- 8-10 pink peppercorns
- 1 cup cider vinegar
- 1 cup water
- ½ tbsp pickling salt
- Put bay leaf, tarragon and peppercorns into a pint jar.
- Gently pack in onions and tomatoes.
- In a saucepan, bring to boil the vinegar, water and salt, stirring to dissolve the salt. (Or, if you made the pickled okra and have the extra brine like I did, just reheat to a boil.)
- Pour the hot brine over the onions and tomatoes and store in the fridge for about two weeks.
Rebecca Orchant is a New Mexican ex-pat living in Brooklyn. She likes onions and pickles more than most people, stops in every diner that crosses her path and has been known to indulge in a cocktail or two. You can find more vinegar, whiskey and butter-soaked tales on her blog, Chronicles of a Stomach Grumble.