Leo Robitschek's Pickled Cocktail Onions - Imbibe Magazine Subscribe + Save

Leo Robitschek’s Pickled Cocktail Onions

“The perfect pickled onion should be a balance of briny and sweet,” says The NoMad Hotel bar director Leo Robitschek. “It should be fully pickled while still retaining a slight crunch.” To achieve this, Robitschek creates a pickling liquid that preserves and elevates the flavors of the onion and adds some extra spice, which he says brings out the umami notes and brininess. Make a batch for your next round of Gibsons.


  • 1⅛ cup water
  • ¾ cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1¾ Tbsp. white sugar
  • 1¾ tsp. brown sugar
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • ⅓ cup black peppercorns
  • 1 small piece of canela
  • ⅛ tsp. red chili flakes
  • ¼ tsp. fresh thyme
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • ⅔ tsp. juniper berries
  • ⅓ tsp. cloves
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 1 pinch coriander
  • Small pinch fennel seed
  • 2 cups peeled pearl onions
  • Tools:large saucepan, large glass jar


Combine all the ingredients except the onions in a pan. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat and allow the liquid to reach room temperature. Once cooled, pour the liquid over the onions in a large jar and cover for 2 weeks.

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