DC Drinks

Reviews, rantlets and ribald on all things alcoholic.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Pickled Onions Are Like Girlfriends

When I discovered how to make a Gibson, I fell in love, and swore I'd never drink an olive or lemon twist Martini again. Later I realized this was utter blasphemy, but I still believe that adding pickled onions to a Martini makes a bleary eye clear, and the downtrodden soul stand up straight.

But enough hyperbole. Let's get down to business. For the gin connoisseur, a Martini garnish varies by his or her mood. Need a little get-up-and-go?---lemon twist. Wednesday night and had a half-tough day at the office?---olive. Found out you're gonna have group sex with Gwen Stefani and Scarlett Johansson at midnight?---pour yourself a pickled onion Gibson Martini at 8:00, sharp.

No serious home bar should be without these white globes. Let me lay down three types of onions for your choosing.

1) Sour cocktail onions. The small ones are easy to find anywhere. You may have to do some searching for the larger ones but the flavor is the same: tangy and crunchy. They're usually in vinegar brine but don't let that throw you off---the gin and vermouth will get a tongue-twisting kick in the pants that'll make your taste buds pleasantly cross-eyed.

2) Sweet cocktail onions. You can find sweet cocktail onions from the very nice people at www.mcsweet.com. When I was first obsessed with hard-to-find cocktail onions, McSweet was nurturing and kind. It's a family business that's proud to give drunks like me simple pleasures. (Honestly, I prefer sour onions, but the McSweets are such good folks that I had to put them on this list).

3) Homemade cocktail onions. After my obsession with cocktail onions and Gibsons this summer, I decided to do my own onion pickling in my kitchen. I had mixed results which are a little embarassing to recount here. By trial and error, I've found that the best way to make them is with pearl onions, white vinegar and not much else. Recipes are readily available online.

Most bars know what a Gibson is, but be careful: so few people order them that you'll often get onions that taste like Gherkins and you may have to write an email like this.


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