The Reverse Martini


It is no secret I have a healthy obsession with gin. It is the canvas I like to build most of my drinks on. But right after my obsession with gin is my obsession with aperitif wines/vermouth. In my humble opinion it is the least understood and most underutilized cocktail ingredient in our current cocktail rebirth. It is one of two ingredients in a Martini and one of three ingredients in a Manhattan, yet the majority of Americans and even many professional cocktail makers know very little about it and do not place importance on it.

There are three main reasons why Americans shy away from Vermouth. One, the famous haters such as Winston Churchill who declared that the way to make a martini correctly is extremely chilled gin and then bowing in the direction of France. Secondly, it is trendy to order a martini “dry”, although in my seven years experience behind the bar it is scary how many customers order a martini that way but do not really understand what they are asking…but it sounds correct! And finally, most do not realize that vermouth has a shelf life. And if you have ever had wine that has been opened for days/weeks that has oxidized it is horrible. The same thing happens to Vermouth (although it takes longer to turn). But if your first experience with the stuff is oxidized Vermouth, anyone sane drinker would want to keep it as far away from their lips as possible.

If you want to learn the magic of vermouth I suggest you sign up for a class with me, but in the mean time you can come in to Wisdom or Church & State and order a REVERSE MARTINI.

What is a reverse martini? Besides being the favored drink of Julia Child, it is a simple reverse in the ratio of gin and vermouth. It puts the vermouth/aperitif wine on stage and uses the gin for some body and a botanical subtle kick. Much lighter in proof than a standard Martini and yet much stronger than a glass of wine or beer. It may be the perfect drink for the individual who loves the elegance and flavor profile of a classic cocktail but whose tolerance level is not ready for the heat!

One combination that I recently came up with is the BLUE ROSE. The Cocchi Rosé is a new aperitif wine from Cocchi that has incredible depth and a nice layer of bitterness from the chinchona (ken-KEE-nah) bark that is added. BTW the “Americano” does not refer to American but to “Amer” or bitter.


2.25 oz of Cocchi Americano Rosé Aperitif Wine

0.75 oz of BlueCoat Gin

dash of Orange bitters

I recommend stirring over the rocks than straining into a coup glass.

Optional Garnish: Orange Peel

Wisdom Invades Bluecoat

Erik and Robert

Robert (Philadelphia Distilling) and Erik (the Gintender)

It has taken far too long, but we are finally getting up our video and photos from Wisdom’s Bluecoat distillery tour!

A very special thanks to everyone at Philadelphia Distilling and, of course, Erik (the Gintender) for organizing such an awesome trip.

Also thanks to the brilliant Scott Stead for putting this video together.


Check out all of the photos from the Bluecoat tour.

Free Bluecoat Gin Tasting and Tour







Don’t miss your chance to tour one of the finest gin distilleries in America!

Come hang out with the Wisdom staff and crew this Sunday (September 25th) as they tour and drink gin at the Bluecoat distillery in the city that’s always sunny (Philadelphia).

The best part?

It’s 100% free. Tour includes transportation (luxury bus with restroom), gin tasting, tour of the Bluecoat facility and lots of free time in downtown Philly. Many loyal patrons of Wisdom don’t know that Bluecoat is the featured gin at Wisdom and is used in a number of the gin cocktails on the custom menu. The Bluecoat guys are pretty cool so be sure to thank them for this amazing opportunity!

So how do you capitalize on this once in a life time experience?

Simply be in the first 10 to send an email to with Blue in the subject to receive full details.

The bus leaves at 10 a.m. and will return to D.C. around 9 p.m.




Van Gogh’s (P)ear

Photo by Emilian Robert Vicol

**This recipe is a GINtender orginal**


1/2 oz. Lucid Absinthe,

1/2 oz. Belle de Brillet Pear Cognac,

1 oz. Bluecoat American Dry Gin,

2 oz. Fresh-pressed apple juice,

Dash of Regan’s Orange Bitters No. 6



Shake ingredients well on ice.  Add bitters after straining drink into a martini glass.  Garnish with a slice of pear.

Click here for more GINtender Originals.