Wednesday, September 11, 2013

DIY: Cocktail Onions for the perfect Gibson

As I mentioned in the last post, on the weekend I harvested our onion crop.  Along with some good-sized onions perfect for cooking with, we got a bunch of teeny tiny little guys, and I had no idea what we would do with them.  Then, an idea struck me:  I was pickling some green beans for Caesars, so why not pickle the onions too and make my own cocktail onions?  After all, who doesn't love a Gibson?

Actually, probably there are many people who don't like a Gibson, but I'm not one of them.  A Gibson is basically a classic dry gin martini.  Just gin and dry vermouth.  The distinguishing trait of a Gibson is the onion (nowadays, at least).

Peeling the skins off

If you also like Gibsons, then you should try making cocktail onions in your own kitchen.  They are shockingly easy to do.  Here it is, laid out:

Boil your tiny onions for about 5 minutes.

Drain them and toss them into ice water, to stop the cooking (shock 'em!).

Depending on the size of the batch you make, use varying amounts of the following:  water, salt, bay leaf, juniper berries, whole clove, peppercorns, cardamom, and maple syrup.  I had a small jar, so I used 1 cup of water, 1 tablespoon of salt, 1 bay leaf, 1 clove, 6 peppercorns, 1 cardamom pod, and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup.  I had no juniper berries around.  Lemon peel optional as well.

Bring this mixture just to a boil and take it off the heat.
Pearly whites

Peel the outer skins off your tiny onions so that you're left with a shiny pearly mini-onion.

Put the onions in a jar and pour the mix over them.  You can leave it at that and put them in the fridge, or you can put the lid on the jar and process it like you would for jam (i.e. in a boiling water bath or in the oven).

Then you're done!  Yay!  In about 2 weeks you'll have cocktail onions for your martinis.  I've got a week and a half to wait, and I'm really excited to try them when they're ready. I'll be sure to report back.

Cocktail onions!


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Update, November 14:  the cocktail onions are delicious!  they're onion-y with the slightest hint of sweetness from the maple syrup.  We made Gibsons last night, and these little onions added a lovely hint of flavour to the gin.  Marvellous!


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