Two leading bartenders have teamed up to open their own bar, championing the classic Gibson cocktail.
The bar, called The Gibson, is being created in London’s Old Street by Marian Beke, who was head bartender for nearly five years at the Nightjar – the Old Street bar that was named number three in the World’s 50 Best Bars list last week.
He has joined forces with Rusty Červen, who was formerly senior mixologist at The Connaught Bar at The Connaught hotel in London’s Mayfair under Ago Perrone – ranked ninth in the World’s 50 Best Bars.
They have decided to focus on the Gibson, a variant on a Martini made with gin, vermouth and an onion, which dates back to at least the early 20th century.
Rusty said: “From my experience, we know how popular Martinis are in London. Many people are asking for a Gibson but there is no place focusing on this drink.
“Most bars are choosing the best olives or lemons possible to make an amazing Martini but, when it comes to onions, you mostly find the commercial small cocktail onions in it.
“So we are trying to bring the Gibson back to popularity, with the same importance as the classic Martini and using the highest-quality ingredients including the best pickled onions.”
They will play with different vinegars, such as providing a choice of onions pickled in malt vinegar, red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar. Pickles will also feature on the bar food menu alongside cold cuts and tartares using meat sourced from a nearby market.
The menu will also feature a selection of original cocktails inspired by seasonal flavours.
Marian and Rusty have taken over the former site of Il Cicchetto Bar where they plan to create a “cosy place with a classy atmosphere”. It will take inspiration from cocktail heritage, including the Edwardian era when the Gibson was invented.
They hope that the interior will be able to integrate the story of Charles Dana Gibson, the American artist who allegedly inspired the cocktail when being served by bartender Charles Connolly at the Players Club in New York City in the 1930s.
They also plan to integrate his “Gibson Girl” drawings of idealised American women into the design and character of the interior.
Rusty added: “The bar will have a welcoming feeling and a unique way of connecting cocktail heritage with a contemporary interpretation.”
The pair, who are both originally from Slovakia, hope to launch the bar in early November. Its website, www.thegibsonbar.london, will be going live shortly.