Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Vodka Cocktails

Starlight Reverse Martini

A crystal-clear Martini in a coupe glass garnished with a brandied cherry on a pick / Tim Nusog

There are plenty of alternatives to the tried-and-true Martini that have their own monikers, including the Vesper, Gibson and the Tuxedo No. 2. But other times the drinks follow the “call it what it is” approach, and the Reverse Martini is one such cocktail. There are a few ways to portion the drink, but this particular Reverse Martini recipe comes from San Francisco’s now-shuttered Starlight Room; the recipe increases the dry vermouth alongside a short pour of vodka and a small addition of maraschino liqueur. Michael Lee, a certified sommelier and Starlight Room’s former assistant director of food and beverage, calls it the perfect summer drink. “It will not make you feel sluggish while you dance the night away between the stars and cable cars,” he says.

If vermouth-forward Martini recipes feel antithetical to the everyday purist’s go-to ratio, that’s because it is. If you prefer yours à la Winston Churchill (“Glance at the vermouth bottle briefly while pouring the juniper distillate freely”) then steer clear of the Starlight Reverse Martini given its light vodka “base” and heavy pour of vermouth. But for those who appreciate all the nuance that a great vermouth offers, recipes such as this—and the classic 50/50 Martini, as another example—are excellent templates for exploring the underrated world of aromatized wines.

One way to step up your vermouth game at home—and to improve drinks like the Reverse Martini—is to make your own blend using vermouths you already love. The reason? What one vermouth can’t do, two or more vermouths can, they say.


  • 1 3/4 ounces Dolin Blanc Vermouth de Chambéry
  • 1 ounce vodka
  • 1 barspoon Luxardo maraschino liqueur
  • Garnish: brandied cherry


  1. Add the Dolin Blanc Vermouth de Chambéry, vodka and Luxardo maraschino liqueur into a mixing glass with ice, and stir until well-chilled.

  2. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

  3. Garnish with a speared brandied cherry.