The Black Saffron Martini Mixed Up For Stanley Tucci

Actor, filmmaker, and foodie, Stanley Tucci, has been on a lengthy quest to discover Italy's rich gastronomic history in his food and travel docuseries, "Searching for Italy." Stopping in several different regions, Tucci has met with chefs, bakers, farmers, cheesemakers, foragers, winemakers, writers, historians, artists, and community leaders all in an effort to better understand his heritage and share just what makes Italy's food culture so awe-inspiring. With several seasons of filming, Tucci has uncovered some of the country's best-kept culinary secrets, including where to find an ultra-unique Black Saffron Martini.

Making a stop in one of Italy's best cities to enjoy an aperitivo, Tucci was welcomed at Milano speakeasy, Tencitt. Located in the basement of a historic building that was once used to burn charcoal for the Fabbrica del Duomo, Tencitt transformed into a lounge in the 1960s and has been a meeting place for artists and gourmets ever since. In an effort to learn about the city's mixology scene, Tucci met with one of the city's most in-demand bartenders, Morris Maramaldi

With over ten years of experience, Maramaldi is known for crafting incredible cocktails that are site-specific, shares CNN. Inspired by each location, Maramaldi's boozy creations focus on highlighting the history of a place through its ingredients — the Black Saffron Martini, being an excellent example.

A modern tipple in honor of Milan's past

While there are just about a million ways to customize a Martini, from a dirty martini to a Gibson, chances are that you've never come across one with as much historical significance as the Black Saffron Martini. Drawing inspiration from the Duomo, La Cucina Italiana reports that Maramaldi created the cocktail after considering Tencitt's charcoal-burning past, and the relevance of the cathedral as a crossroads for trade.

Exclusively crafted for Stanley Tucci, the custom tipple dubbed the Black Saffron Martini is made by mixing together charcoal-infused gin and saffron-infused dry vermouth with ice. The mixture is then strained into a chilled Nick & Nora glass, garnished with a vaporization of cardamom essential oil. The result is a stunningly dramatic cocktail with intense herbaceousness, floral nuances, and gentle smokiness. 

As for its link to tradition, Maramaldi explains that the charcoal infusion pays homage to how coal protected Milanese coal burners from plagues. The spices are symbols of trade with Persian saffron being an iconic symbol of Milanese cuisine (namely, golden-hued risotto alla Milanese), and cardamom is a widely used aromatic and digestif (per La Cucina Italiana). Layered in flavor and tradition, sipping a homemade Black Saffron Martini will transport you to the streets of Milan — and make you feel like you're journeying alongside the charismatic Stanley Tucci.