During the peak of the pandemic, millions of people—us included—found comfort in an unexpected place: Stanley Tucci’s Instagram profile. A former bartender, Tucci shared negroni, margarita, and martini recipes. When it comes to the last one, Tucci has strong feelings about the many origin stories of the classic cocktail. “Too many people say too many things, and I wish they’d stop,” he says. “The only thing that matters is that the martini exists.”
Here Tucci shares his ideal recipe that can be made into a gin martini or a vodka martini—there’s a time and place for both. Both are extra-dry martinis with just a whiff of vermouth and, of course, are stirred, not shaken. (For the record, James Bond was ordering a weak martini. Shaking a cocktail causes the ice cubes to chip, meaning they will melt and dilute the drink). It’s “the quintessence of elegance that we all aspire to and believe we acquire when we drink one,” Tucci adds. Finish it with lemon peel or green olives.
London dry gin is the classic spirit used here, but feel free to play around with other styles if you like. For a dirty martini, add olive brine to the base before stirring and follow bar expert Al Culliton’s advice: “You can start with a few drops, but most lovers of this version would start at about a ½ teaspoon brine and work up. Call me conservative, but I like to cap it at ¼ oz.” You don’t want to distract entirely from the other flavors here.