DIY Cocktail Onions

If you are looking for a way to up your savoury cocktail game, then maybe it’s time to gather some pearl onions and make cocktail onions at home

By: Tiff Christie|March 10,2021

At first glance, it might seem as if there aren’t a whole lot of uses for the humble cocktail onion. 

Of course, they are most definitely the point of a Gibson but once you’ve down that tasty mix, what else are you meant to do with them? (Obviously, the answer is to make another Gibson but really, shouldn’t there be more?)

You could, of course, use them in a Bloody Mary or any other savoury cocktail you think could benefit from that delicious briny crunch. 


Whether in a drink or just sitting on the side as a snack, cocktail onions are a useful little treat to have on hand but sometimes the versions that you can buy in-store, leave much to be desired. 

Squishy and flavourless, store-bought versions are often more of a letdown than a delight. Luckily, making cocktail onions at home is not only quick but also easy enough to encourage you to find new uses and new cocktails in which to use them.  

Best of all, you’ll find that DIY cocktail onions have a much more layered flavour and a much subtler onion after taste, that will definitely;y keep you sipping. And before you know it, you might even find yourself tossing them into your gin and tonics, as well as your vodka and sodas. 

Aside from their cocktail uses, cocktail onions have been known to show up sliced and tossed into a salad, stir-fried or subtly tucking themselves inside a variety of sandwiches.

Homemade Cocktail Onions


1/4 kg (or 1/2 pound) pearl onions

1/4 cup Apple cider vinegar, champagne vinegar, water

1/4 tsp brown and yellow mustard seeds, coriander seeds

Bay leaf

Sprig oregano

5 allspice berries


Combine all ingredients except onions in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve salt and sugar. Add cocktail onions in and let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let reach room temperature. Pour everything into a ball jar and seal. Refrigerate for at least 3 days and up to two weeks. Onion flavour will mellow as it sits. Use within one month for the best flavour.

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