The Isle of Harris Gibson


Our enjoyable journey into the world of Martini cocktails continues this week as we turn to the serious business of ice, a fitting topic given the current climate across the UK. 

There is nothing worse than a Martini served at room temperature, it must be enjoyed very COLD. But how to keep things chilled can be a matter of great controversy.

Ironically, it’s a member of Her Majesty’s Secret Service who is perhaps most responsible for the greatest cocktail crime of the 20th Century. It was James Bond who popularised the phrase “shaken, not stirred…”.​

In the first Bond film Dr. No (1962), the eponymous villain presents Bond with a drink “A medium dry martini, lemon peel. Shaken, not stirred.” and the rest is history!

Most bartenders will frown upon such an order and we concur, unless you possess a license to kill, your Martini will almost certainly be more enjoyable stirred.  The shaking ‘bruises’ the spirit and adds shards of ice to your drink. Ideal for the steely British spy, but less than perfect for your average imbiber.

Martinis are also traditionally served “up”, as opposed to “on the rocks”, and unless you specify the latter yours will be served without ice in the glass. Never fear, the bartender will chill your drink by stirring the ingredients with good ice before straining into an awaiting well-chilled glass.

This week, we’re delighted to introduce our third recipe collaboration, this time with Tommy Cummins, bar manager of Discount Suit Company Cocktail Bar in London. He’s created a Hebridean twist on the Gibson, a traditional Martini made with pickled onions and vinegar.

The oldest published recipe for the Gibson drink is found in the 1908 book, “The World’s Drinks and How To Mix Them” by William Boothby but nobody really knows who created it originally. 

One story suggests it was created in San Francisco by businessman D.K. Gibson in the late 1800’s, who believed that eating onions prevented colds.

The Isle of Harris Gibson could be just the thing at this most chilly time of the year…

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The Isle of Harris Gibson Recipe

Our thanks to Tommy Cummins and John Robinson at Discount Suit Company Cocktail Bar

Discount Suit Company Cocktail Bar​, 29A Wentworth Street, London E1 7TB /

Photography by Garry Maclennan /

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