Chive Blossom Gibson
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass.
Garnish with two 3″ lengths of chive
It’s hard to believe it’s Memorial Day weekend. It seems like just last week I was wrapped in a jacket for my lunch walk. Oh, wait. That was last week, but now it’s Memorial Day, so goodbye gloomy weather! It’s time for cookouts and lifting a glass in honor of those who died serving in the military.
It’s also the time of year when the chive plants in my front yard have reached their peak, which got me thinking about a twist on a gibson, a classic cocktail that’s basically a martini with a couple of pickled cocktail onions placed in it to lend a savory underpinning. While I’m sure the gibson has its fans, I think it can be improved. I poked around online to see if chives are good candidates for infusions and came upon a post by Boozed + Infused that calls for mixing a large-batch martini and infusing it with chive blossoms for six days. The result was, in Boozed + Infused’s words, “not for the faint of heart,” suggesting use in a Bloody Mary instead (Agreed!).
Using Boozed + Infused’s experience as a benchmark, I decided to infuse just the dry vermouth and to check on it periodically to see when the chive blossoms had sufficiently imparted their flavor to the vermouth.
I started my infusion by picking nine chive flowers and swishing them repeatedly in bowls of water until they were clean. The flowers released many little black bugs that I liberated via multiple trips to the backyard. Once clean, I set the flowers on a towel to dry, then deposited them in a mason jar and poured in 1.5 cups of Dolin Dry Vermouth.
I started the infusion before bed, tasted it when I got home from work the next day (about 17 hours later) and declared it done. I strained it a couple of times to remove any flower bits, then began experimenting.
My first approach followed a pretty standard martini recipe – 2.5 oz of gin and .5 oz of dry vermouth. The result was not ideal – a gin hammer with an onion finish. Given the fact that a classic gibson is defined by pickled onions, I decided to add 1/4 teaspoon of rice vinegar. I also cut the gin back to 2 oz. The result is a savory, delicious cocktail that begs to be paired with food – ideally oysters on the half shell or those steaks you’re throwing on the grill at your Memorial Day party.