We recently had the pleasure of trying some of the world’s best cocktails at relatively new bar The Gibson in London. The bar was just crowned the world’s sixth best bar on the worlds-50-best-bars list. According to us this is very well deserved. Here’s why;
Rusty Cerven and Marian Beke are the master minds behind The Gibson. Having previously worked at The Connaught and Nightjar, it’s no wonder The Gibson is turning out to be such a success. Cocktails are innovative to say the least, but they are also very tasty and they are decorated in the most thought through ways imaginable.
It’s actually possible to make table reservations at The Gibson which is nice (and vital) as the bar is small and fills up quickly. When we entered The Gibson we felt immediately welcome, the staff are truly great and knowledgable here! The tables are small, but it just adds to the cosiness of the bar. It’s decorated in a wonderful way with vintage barware randomly scattered all over the place.
After being seated we were served complimentary pickles and parmesan cheese shavings. A very nice gesture, and perfect having something to snack on while you review the beautiful and surprisingly long cocktail menu. We decided to go for six different cocktails in total.
The Big in Japan is made with whiskey, yuzu vinegar, lime, rice syrup and ginger (plus a few other ingredients in small quantities). It’s decorated with wasabi peas placed over burning incense. It has an almost milky taste to it, where the base spirit comes through in a subtle way. Eating the spicy peas and sipping the cocktail at the same time created an explosion of flavors in the mouth. Accidentally eating fragments of the incense was not so nice though . . .
Served in a glass pipe, the Jekyll & Hive is one of the more spectacular cocktails at the menu. Based on whiskey, but paired with curiosities such as barley candy, rye bread kvas, cherry beer, a house made chocolate praline and kumquat this cocktail is one of a kind. As seen in the picture below decorations are a big part of the cocktail experience, pay extra attention to the melted chocolate at the base of the pipe. An amazing cocktail, really showcasing the ambitions of The Gibson bar.
The cocktail below is the Grand Orient Express made with scotch, tea, galangal, lemon and apple. The drink is decorated with a corn cob, partly dipped in chocolate, to be used for stirring the cocktail. Curiously enough, even is chocolate is used in several of the cocktails, they are never overly sweet but rather perfectly balanced. The Grand Orient Express turned out to be one of our favorites, out of all the cocktails we tried.
The Some Moth Cocktail is a Martini style cocktail with gin, dry vermouth and absinthe. Rather than adding an olive The Gibson complements this cocktail with a red pepper filled with soft cheese (an additional one is served on the side). As this peculiar decoration slowly marinates in the cocktail, it makes the whole creation more and more spicy. This is an interesting way of changing the flavor of a cocktail during the time you spend drinking it.
What seems to be the house cocktail is the Electric Earl served with an electrifying flower bud, that for real tickles your tongue. In the cocktail there is gin, earl grey tea and grapefruit juice. As seen this creation is served in a light bulb glassware, further playing with the electric theme. It was a nice cocktail, but possibly a bit overpowered by the strong grapefruit juice.
Last cocktail during our night at the Gibson was a Tiger Balm cocktail. The glass was rimmed with salt, but also with some sort of lip balm, smoothing your lips with every sip. The drink is a Margarita variation made with tequila, chili, lime and grapefruit. The decoration were some pretty flowers . . . and some scary looking dried worms (as seen to the left in the picture). We so wanted to be brave and try the worms, but we just couldn’t do it in the end. The cocktail was really nice and fresh though, and the lip balm was an interesting idea that we’ve never seen before.
The whole atmosphere of the bar is great, and we loved how they incorporated vintage barware and dinnerware in the servings. The Gibson is a true gem, and a must for cocktail lovers visiting London.
Indeed, even the toilets are interestingly decorated…