Friday Night Cocktail: Stinger

When I wrote about the Coffee Cocktail, I mentioned that it was one of two drinks that make a frequent appearance in my cocktail shaker during the holiday season. The other one is the Stinger.

On paper, drinks like the Stinger look simple. And they’re certainly simple to make. But there’s something about these quintessential combinations of spirit and sweetener – the Stinger, the Gimlet, the Rusty Nail, even the Black Russian – that makes them more than the sum of their parts.

What makes this a Christmas-season drink for me is the mint: the Stinger is like a grown-up candy cane in a glass, with the frosty mint and warming Cognac in perfect balance. The rather barbed nod it gets in the Christmas classic The Bishop’s Wife doesn’t hurt, either.

How to make a Stinger

  • 2 oz. Cognac
  • 1/4 oz. to 1/2 oz. crème de menthe (the best brands are Get or Marie Brizard, but don’t let it stop you if you can’t get them)

Combine the spirit and the liqueur in a mixing glass. Don’t go overboard on the crème de menthe, lest your cocktail end up tasting like mouthwash. Add ice, and shake hard for 15 seconds. (Although its ingredients would dictate stirring, the Stinger is traditionally shaken.) Strain into a chilled cocktail glass or over crushed ice in the glass of your choice.

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