Reverse Martini Rose

Do you know the Reverse Martini and the Rose?

The Reverse Martini gave birth to the Rose, a cocktail created in Paris in the 1910s. Jim Meehan set out on a quest to find the best recipe for the Rose.

Al Culliton tells how Jim Meehan, (bartender, journalist and author of The PDT Cocktail Book and Meehan’s Bartender Manual) has spent a couple of years in search of the perfect recipe for the Rose cocktail, also known as the Parisian Reverse Martini.

Originally the Rose was born in Paris during the 1910s at the city’s Chatham Hotel, thanks to bartender Johnny Mitta.

The drink is part of the vermouth-based cocktail genre, constructing a Reverse Martini with proportions of 2:1 French vermouth and Kirschwasser (cherry brandy from Central Europe). It mainly contained currant syrup (sirop de groseilles) or red currant syrup, although raspberry syrup and grenadine were also frequently cited in the history of the drink.

In The Oxford Companion to Spirits & Cocktails, Fernando Castellon states that the Rose was “effectively the signature drink of Paris from the early 1900s until World War II.” It is also listed as “Rose Cocktail (French Style No. 3)” in The Savoy Cocktail Book.

After going through at least three different recipes, and after never finding the original recipe’s blissful groseille syrup, Jim Meehan came up with a recipe that he recreated at his Portland bar, “Takibi,” in Oregon, USA.

Here he serves the Rose City, a version in which he mixes red currant preserves, a base split between white and dry vermouth and an unusual brandy made by Portland producer Stone Barn Brandyworks, with local Rainier cherries and matsutake mushrooms. Through the mushrooms he gets a “mesmerizing perfume,” more aroma than flavor. To finish, garnish the drink with a cherry dipped in kirsch.

It is clear that this recipe precedes what will probably be, for Meehan, the best Rose recipe, notes Al Culliton.


Rose City, recipe by Jim Meehan


Serving Size: 1

30 ml of white vermouth, preferably French

30 ml of dry vermouth, preferably French

22.5 ml ounce of cherry brandy, preferably Stone Barn Brandyworks Cherry Matsutake Brandy

1 teaspoon of red currant preserves

Garnish: cherry griotte

Preparation: combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill. Strain into a chilled glass and garnish with a cherry griotte on a spout.


Read the original article by Ali Cutton “Bring Back The Rose” here.


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