We all know the Martini. But how many of us can say we’ve sipped its lesser-known cousin, the Gibson? The distinction is that the Gibson comes garnished with a pickled onion; at the eponymous bar, that pickled onion happens to be housemade (and the drink comes served in a condensation-beaded silver cocktail glass).
It may look distinctive, but visually this is one of the Gibson’s most subdued serves. Each cocktail on the bar’s 48-strong menu comes in its own bespoke glassware, many with attention-getting garnishes or nibbles on the side. It won’t be an unfamiliar gesture to those who’ve been to Nightjar; the Gibson is the new spot from its former head bartender Marian Beke, after all. But where Nightjar is a moody, jazz-soundtracked basement den, this is a convivial corner bar, a neighbourhood spot where the drinks just happen to be ambitiously theatrical.
And most of them work brilliantly: the Nether Say Nether brims with cocoa nuttiness and comes topped with a stroopwafel; the Jekyll & Hive is a sultry mix of ingredients as diverse as caramelised barley candy and bee wax-infused bourbon. It also comes served in a glass smoking pipe. But if you prefer your classics, well, classic, that Gibson is an ideal place to start.