Stanley Tucci’s Perfect Negroni, Plus Holiday Entertaining Tips
The Stanley Tucci Negroni is now as famous as the actor himself. Learn how to make the cocktail, how to mix the perfect martini and batched drinks for a crowd, and what to serve at a party.
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Whether it’s the way his character Secondo makes an omelet for brother Primo in the last scene of Big Night, how he tackles family recipes and stories in The Tucci Cookbook, The Tucci Table and Taste, or eating through Italy on CNN, it’s clear Stanley Tucci has a passion for all things food and drink. But an early pandemic-era Instagram video of him making a Negroni pushed the award-winning actor to true culinary star status.
Now Stanley’s known as the Negroni guy, and we’re OK with that. Because if there’s anything the world needs right now it’s Stanley Tucci being Stanley Tucci elegantly making us a cocktail.
While he stirs more than just Negronis at home—he loves a good martini, too, so much so he’s known for taking a travel martini set on filming locations—Stanley is a consummate host. So we asked him for a few entertainment tips for the holidays, from setting up a bar cart to mixing batches of the perfect Negroni for guests and what to serve with them.
Organize Your Bar Cart Like Stanley Tucci
The trick to a stellar bar cart is to keep it simple. “It doesn’t take a lot of effort,” says Stanley. “You can just create this little corner of elegance, which I think is the nicest thing.”
First, you’ll need an actual cart. Luckily there’s a bar cart for every style: Mid-century modern, vintage, contemporary, minimalist and farmhouse. Other necessary bar tools include a bucket or container for ice, a beaker, a shaker, a cocktail spoon and glassware.
For spirits, think about what your guests like. You’ll need a great gin for a Negroni, of course, plus a bottle of the bitter Italian aperitif Campari and a good sweet vermouth like Carpano Antica. Stanley is partial to Tanqueray No. Ten gin (he works with the brand), though any that suits your taste will do.
That same gin also makes a wonderful martini, he says, stirred with just a hint of dry vermouth (every bar cart should have a bottle of both sweet and dry vermouth) and garnished with a twist of grapefruit. “A martini should be made to the taste of whoever’s drinking it,” he adds.
More essential tips for a well-stocked home bar: Have other basic spirits like vodka, whiskey, tequila, and “a good scotch is never a bad idea.” A few mixers will come in handy, bitters, and garnishes like citrus (peels, slices and wedges), pickled onions and olives, and delicious Luxardo cherries.
Make Stanley Tucci’s Negroni
Whether a Negroni, martini or any other cocktail, Stanley embraces the ceremony of creating it. It’s not a race; both the preparation and the drink itself are to be savored. It’s almost a ritual.
A classic Negroni recipe is equal parts gin, Campari and sweet vermouth. For his version, as seen in his wildly popular video, Stanley doubles up the gin and shakes it, which had some traditionalists up in arms.
In truth, the heft of more gin cuts the sweetness a bit, but to each their own. He also serves it his own way: “Most people have Negronis on the rocks, but I think they’re quite nice up,” he says in the video.
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Stanley Tucci’s Negroni Recipe
2 shots gin
1 shot sweet vermouth
1 shot Campari
Fill the cocktail shaker with ice. Add gin, vermouth and Campari and shake. Pour into a coupe. Drizzle with juice from an orange slice and use it for garnish.
Make Batched Negronis for a Crowd
There’s nothing wrong with pre-made cocktails, says Stanley, especially if you’re entertaining guests. A Negroni works particularly well in batches because the proportions are equal and easily bumped up. Simply combine gin, Campari and sweet vermouth in a glass pitcher or carafe, stir and keep chilled. When it’s time to serve, pour into individual glasses, on or off the rocks, and garnish with an orange peel.
“Just make sure they stay cold,” Stanley adds. “Not by putting ice in the mixed cocktail, but by putting it on ice. Then you can augment the individual drinks any way you like.”
Of the many Negroni variations, the Negroni Sbagliato has everyone clinking glasses right now. Thanks to the swap of Prosecco for gin, it’s a bubbly and festive cocktail that’s easy to make in batches. Just mix the Campari and vermouth ahead of time, and top with sparkling wine when served in individual glasses.
Food to Serve with a Negroni
We all know there’s more to a cocktail party than the cocktails. When welcoming guests, Stanley likes to put out a nice charcuterie board. Maybe he’ll add a good goat cheese, a sheep’s cheese and sharp cheeses like Parmesan, which pair particularly well with the sweet and bitter balance of a Negroni. So do strongly flavored meats for a charcuterie board like soppressata, calabrese salami and chorizo. Finish with some marinated olives, plus salty nuts and bread or crisp crackers.
“Keep it really simple, nothing fancy,” he says. “Just use all things to really excite your palate.”