This is one of those quirky little drinks that will really surprise you. No one would ever accuse Creme de Menthe of being a bartender favorite. In fact, Creme de Menthe is generally recognized as one of the most loathsome liqueurs in cabinet. On its own, this minty liqueur is cloying and overwhelmingly sweet in almost any cocktail. But here it is mixed with cognac, which is just burly enough to make the stuff behave to a degree.
The Stinger has an interesting background. Depending on who you ask, this drink is a classic throwback of high society or your grandparents' favorite nightcap. There can be little doubt that modern mixology has left this drink in the dust - no doubt thanks to the Creme de Menthe. When I first saw it in Jason Wilson's fine book Boozehound I breezed past it without a second thought. But Mr. Wilson was so glowing about the cocktail that I finally went back and tried making it for myself.
Of course, before I could make a Stinger I had to go out and buy some Creme de Menthe. I took that walk of shame across the store to the checkout counter, trying to conceal my little bottle of minty nastiness from other patrons. Some mixologist I am, huh? All in the name of research...
But upon trying this little cocktail, I have to admit that it really is a nice little addition to The Ace's menu. The cognac and the Creme de Menthe blend together nicely, taking away the cloying qualities of the mint liqueur pretty well. You're left with the familiar bite of the cognac which gives way to the spearminty flavor of the Creme de Menthe. It evokes the cold Winter nights by a warm fire - just in time for the Holiday season.
From Boozehound (2010) by Jason Wilson
2 oz. cognac
1/2 oz. white Creme de Menthe
1 dash absinthe
Place ingredients in a mixing glass 1/2 full of ice and stir for 30 seconds. Pour contents into a double-highball glass and serve.
Note: A regular Stinger Cocktail (non-Royale) is made without the absinthe.
P.S. I was at home for the Holidays with my family in the Midwest this year. I normally grab a couple bottles of spirits at the local grocery store so that I can imbibe while away from home. My parents - straight beer and wine types all the way - indulge my mixology bent but have never been able to even feign liking the cocktails that I make. But tonight as I mixed myself a Stinger nightcap my Mother practically grabbed the drink out of my hand and proclaimed that she "loves" Stinger cocktails.
Okay - I acknowledge that my Mother's ringing endorsement for the Stinger cocktail may not send you running for your liquor cabinet. But the point is that this is a simple-to-make drink that doubles as a crowd-pleaser for your Holiday get-together. Any drink that makes you and your family happy during the Holidays is a winner. And if you're like me it makes a nice little addition (if only a seasonal one) to your home bar rotation as well.