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Wednesday, 6 January 2016

The Gibson, Clerkenwell

Based on his wife and her equally comely sisters, published in Life magazine from the late 1890s onwards, artist Charles Dana Gibson’s iconic sketches of ‘The Gibson Girl’ defined America’s idealised vision of Belle Époque beauty. Around the same time - possibly in response to a challenge from the artist to improve on the traditional Dry Martini recipe - a New York barman substituted a pickled onion for the customary olive and The Gibson cocktail was born. You’ll find it (made with a selection of bespoke-pickled onions and pickles, no less!) and various classy twists on the same theme (such as legendary Scots-born barkeep Harry McElhone’s 1922 absinthe-laced Some Moth Cocktail) behind frosted glass windows, in the candlelit gloaming of this cute conversion of a Victorian corner tap-house from Marian Beke (previously at Nightjar) and Rusty Cerven (ditto The Connaught). An adventurous list has plenty of interest for gin refuseniks: Voodoo Rye, a pepper-infused Bulleit, Cajun BBQ syrup, melon puree, lemon and sweet basil, root beer mule, for instance. Monkey Kong (roast edamame-infused Monkey Shoulder whisky with mangosteen, rambutan and various sweet and sour flavourings is one of several complex and intriguing experiments that look to Asia now - as opposed to America, then - at this new Clerkenwell sweet spot, as good a gaff as any, hereabouts, in which to get nicely pickled.
44 Old Street EC1V 9AQ 7608 2774

Review first published on