to keep himself in cocktail onions


Senior Member
Born and raised in Japón, soy japonés
Hello there, here is my question.

He was a career executive with a major New York bank.
That's just how he put it when anyone asked what he did
to keep himself in cocktail onions.
He died two years ago. (Chapter 27, The Stand)

What does "to keep himself in cocktail onions" mean?
Cocktail onions are expensive?

Thanks in advance.
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    It's a funny way to say how he made his living. People who need cocktail onions drink martinis and wear expensive clothes and drive cool cars and live in penthouses... at least that's the thought process. The cocktail onions are the least of those things, but still a necessary luxury item to fit his lifestyle.


    Senior Member
    English-American/New England
    A cocktail onion is otherwise known as a "pearl" or "silverskin" onion (a small white pickled onion), and a martini with such an onion is called a "Gibson" (or "Gibson martini"), to distinguish it from the standard martini, which uses an olive (pitted, of course), not a pearl onion. People who drink Gibsons often think of themselves as being more sophisticated than those who drink standard martinis. (At least that was my experience when I was a bartender in graduate school.)
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