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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Upside-down Martini: recipe for Julia Child’s favorite cocktail

The opening of Nora Ephron’s latest film, Julie and Julia, has revived interest in one of America’s national treasures: Julia Child. My wife and I saw the film the week-end it opened, and couldn’t help but notice that cocktails were present in many scenes for both Julie and Julia. There was no great surprise, then, in discovering that America’s most famous chef had invented her own apéritif: the Upside-down (or Reverse) Martini. Julia’s recipe calls for a 5:1 ratio of Noilly Prat Vermouth to Gin, stirred with ice and then strained into a cocktail glass. Noilly Prat is one of (if not the) great French Vermouth; I have used it to rinse many Vodka Martini glasses, and even imbibed higher concentrations in the Paris Cocktail, but 5:1 with gin? I think not.

A little web-based research uncovered the usual number of recipe variations, including some served on the rocks… that seemed to be the ticket even though the chances of Julia obtaining much ice in late 1940’s France seemed low. Taking a white wine glass and filling it three-quarters full of ice, I discovered it would only hold an ounce and a half of Noilly Prat if there was to be room for much gin. Sometimes sacrifices must be made. Next a half ounce of Tanqueray® Gin was poured over the ice and given half a stir with an espresso (i.e. small) spoon. Twisting a bit of lemon peel over the glass and rubbing it around the rim was all it took to finish this delicious apéritif cocktail. As Judith Jones said in the movie, “yumm.”

Upside-down Martini

1 ½ oz (or more) Noilly Prat® Vermouth

½ oz Tanqueray® Gin

Fill a white wine glass three-quarters full with cracked or crushed ice. Add the Noilly Prat® Vermouth, leaving room for the gin (you might be able to add a little extra vermouth based on the size of the glass and the quantity of ice. Add the Tanqueray® Gin and give the glass a half stir (not too much!) with a small espresso spoon. Twist a strip of lemon peel over the glass, rub it around the rim, and drop it on top. Bon Appétit!

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