We can’t underestimate the influence this video of Stanley Tucci making a negroni is having right now.
We’ve tried a few things to stay inspired in our isolation, at-home workouts, mastering the art of boredom, but few have captured our (OK, my) imagination quite as much as replicating a cocktail how-to video. But it is a pretty special one.
The internet has been going wild over Stanley Tucci and his iso spirit-lifting quarantine cocktail masterclass featuring the “ubiquitous Milanese cocktail”, the negroni.
With a hitherto unseen amount of alpha, authority, forearms flaunting, bespectacled power that certainly had me feeling flushed, he created a cocktail and a global thirst that’s generated over 6,000,000 views of the video on Twitter alone.
As it happens the negroni is my locktail/quarantini of choice, too. Was I available to try his recipe? I checked my diary. Why yes, I believed I might be.
It’s clear from his video that this was not Tucci’s first negroni rodeo. In fact, I’m going to suggest it wasn’t the first time he’d made one on the evening in question, too.
Now, the negroni isn’t a particularly complex cocktail to rustle up but endless variations on the theme are possible, as polished negronistas will endlessly tell you I’m sure.
For the Tooch, torching it up in his tight polo shirt and defying his 59 years on this earth, the perfect negroni consists of a double measure of gin – if you don’t like gin you can use vodka, he says, but urges you to lace it with a little gin if so – then single measures of “good” sweet vermouth (Stan does not stan Martini) and Campari. He shakes the mixture over ice, then serves in a coupe with a good-sized, pre-sliced (“They arrive from Florida like this!”) wedge of orange.
Barely holding myself together through the three (hundred) ‘research’ rewatches of the video, my first job was to hunt down a “a good vermouth… not martini”, which came courtesy of Dan Murphy’s. Plus a cocktail shaker and some oranges. I, like you, and unlike a Hollywood star, have one day a week to hunter-gather my necessities, so it was, shall we say… interesting obtaining these items.
Then I got to work.
Handling the cocktail shaker
It’s so unnecessary for Tucci to be banging his cocktail shaker down with the force that he does. But he does it anyway, only adding to the sense that his arms could cradle you so tightly, yet tenderly, that your corona-cares could melt away in a single embrace.
I must admit though, forcefully slamming my shaker down did offer a bit of release, even if it did scare the crap out of my partner.
What he says and how he says it
As an experiment, try making a drink and describe what you’re doing as you go along. You’ll soon realise how effortlessly charming Tucci is. Nothing he’s saying in the video is that groundbreaking but the little flourishes – warning against drinking Martini vermouth while wagging his finger (“mhm”), calling the negroni “that ubiquitous Milanese cocktail”, asking his wife (Felicity Blunt, Emily’s sister) to pass him his wine – ooph. He’s got an incredibly electrifying yet calming presence and tone. A nonchalance only before seen in Jeff Goldblum, you could say. He doesn’t need your attention, he has it.
And the recipe works. It could be the repeated video watches have gone to my head or iso in general, but this negroni recipe is so good. So delicious.
But that still doesn’t explain why we all love this touch of Tooch so much? Before this he was the crush my peers declared ‘weird’, now you’ve all joined the party and I am genuinely puzzled.
Cooped up in a coupe
We can’t underestimate the influence this video is having right now. Would we find Tucci making a negroni hot if there wasn’t a global pandemic? I would – 1000% – but you lot? I have my doubts.
We’re all thirsting hard at the moment.
Whether that’s literally, as evidence by the spike in alcohol sales (YouGov says one in five Australians have purchased more alcohol than usual during the health crisis). Or figuratively, as evidenced by the increase in porn views and sex toy sales since quarantine.
Experts are even attributing a rise in lust to something called terror management theory. As Justin J Lehmiller, a research fellow at the Kinsey Institute wrote, when we’re faced with our mortality, our sexual desire and behaviour is ramped up as a coping mechanism. “To the extent that the Covid-19 pandemic is making mortality more salient, it would make sense that you’d see a rise in horniness right now, which could partly explain why more porn is being consumed.”
I’m no expert, but I reckon if there wasn’t already, there sure is a market for video content featuring men with wonderful arms making cocktails now. And it’s highly unlikely my ‘business up top, iso down the bottom’ attire would get nearly as many views.
There’s just something about Stanley though. A-lister, producer, writer and author of the cookbook The Tucci Table that makes a negroni of his standard seem as elusive as his star power. I don’t believe it’s terror management, I believe you’ve all just suddenly got clear on the indisputable truth: Tucci is a babe and a half.