The Reverse Martini is a simple Martini variation that takes the classic cocktail’s formula and simply flips the proportion of the two main ingredients—gin and vermouth. Dry vermouth becomes the dominant ingredient, while gin, which is typically the base, is relegated to a supporting role.
Though countless Martini variations exist, many of them simply play with the ratios of gin and vermouth, be it the 50/50 Martini, Dry Martini, or Wet Martini. The Reverse Martini is one of the more radical iterations, as it effectively changes the main ingredient. The practice of inverting the proportions in a Martini appears to date back to at least the 1930s, and the drink was reportedly a favorite of famed cook and author Julia Child, who referred to it as the Upside-Down Martini.
What drinkers can expect is a Martini that bursts with additional aroma and flavor. The comparatively lower alcohol content allows subtler aspects of the vermouth and gin to shine, as they’re not muted by excessive alcoholic heat.
As such, vermouth quality takes on increased importance in this cocktail. Though there are many newer artisan dry vermouths on the market with which to experiment, those looking for a more classical Martini profile may opt to start with staples like Noilly Prat Original Dry or Dolin Vermouth de Chambery Dry. The Reverse Martini is one of the few classics that allow for a full appreciation of these bottlings, which are often only utilized in minute amounts for cocktails, as it allows their grape base and botanicals to take center stage.
Though most modern Martinis tend to skew drier in preparation, the Reverse Martini inverts the traditional early ratio of 2:1 spirit to vermouth (now commonly known as the Wet Martini), calling for two parts vermouth to one part gin. These specs create a drink that still has an appreciable amount of alcohol, though with much less punch than a traditional Martini. It will generally come in at 20–25% ABV depending on the brand of gin and vermouth used, as well as stirring time.
The result is a fantastic cocktail that, while painted on the familiar canvas of a classic Martini profile, allows vermouth lovers to better appreciate its nuances. . The Reverse Martini also makes for an excellent brunch cocktail, or a great choice for any other situation in which you’d like to be able to enjoy a classic drink while lengthening your day.
2 ounces dry vermouth
1 ounce gin
Garnish: Olive or lemon twist
Combine dry vermouth and gin in a mixing glass filled with ice.
Stir smoothly, circulating the spoon along the side of the mixing glass, for 30–45 seconds until well chilled.
Strain into chilled Nick & Nora, coupe, or Martini glass.
Garnish with olive or lemon twist, depending on preference.
What’s The Best Vermouth for a Reverse Martini?
Martini ingredients should always be a matter of preference, and if you have a favorite dry vermouth you should feel free to use it. However, if you want to create a more traditional Martini flavor and aroma profile, opt for a classic French dry vermouth like Dolin Vermouth de Chambery Dry or Noilly Prat Original Dry.
What’s the Best Gin for a Reverse Martini?
Again, personal preference should always take precedence. That said, London Dry gin remains a fixture in Martinis, includingReverse Martinis, for a reason. The crisp and clean profile gives the outsized proportion of vermouth room to shine through, while London Dry’s juniper-forward backbone ensures you still get the essence of a traditional Martini despite the drink’s reduced amount of gin.