A classic two-ingredient mixed drink, The Stinger Cocktail is simple but full of flavor. The unique combination of mint and brandy makes for a perfect after-dinner nightcap.
What is a Stinger Cocktail
The Stinger Cocktail is a classic drink with hundreds of years of history. It is a two-ingredient cocktail that pairs brandy (usually cognac) with white crème de menthe.
This unique combination of liquors produces a sweet, strong, minty, and refreshing drink. It is often enjoyed before or after a meal and it is also an excellent dessert cocktail option.
History of the Cocktail
The exact origin of The Stinger is murky. It is believed that it was invented in 1890 but it first appeared in print in 1914 when Jacques Straub included it in his book “Drinks.”
For decades the drink was associated with the upper class and became known as a "society" drink. It even appeared in the 1956 movie “High Society” starring Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby. And James Bond drinks one in the 1956 novel “Diamonds Are Forever.”
The Stinger Cocktail became very popular in New York City and it was widely known during Prohibition as the crème de menthe could mask the taste of the inferior-quality brandies. It reached its height of popularity in the 1960s and 1970s and has remained a classic.
What is in a Stinger Cocktail
The stinger is a two-ingredient cocktail that uses a spirit and a liqueur. Stinger recipes vary the proportions of these two liquors, with some drinkers preferring a drier version which is made with less crème de menthe.
The ingredients you will need are:
- Brandy. Many mixologists prefer to make this drink with cognac - but you can use any brandy you like best to make this drink.
- Crème de menthe. You will need white, not green, crème de menthe for this cocktail recipe which is clear in color. You can use peppermint schnapps as a substitute for crème de menthe, but it has a stronger flavor so start with half the quantity, then add more to taste.
- Garnish. The classic garnish for this cocktail is a sprig of mint, but this is entirely optional as the drink is just as delicious without any garnish.
Got some leftover brandy? Then why not try out our delicious ZESTY BRANDY MANHATTAN COCKTAIL!
More About Creme De Menthe
Creme de menthe is a sweet mint-flavored liqueur that is available in two different varieties: white and green. The Stinger Cocktail uses the white version to maintain its golden hue rather than making it a murky green.
White creme de menthe is a unique variety of liqueur that’s not used in many other standard cocktails but is definitely worth having around. It’s made of grain alcohol that is infused with mint which results in a delicious and refreshing flavor.
Despite its name, there is no cream in creme de menthe at all. The word crème in a bar setting is used to describe a liqueur that has more sugar than normal. So it's a sweet liqueur, but definitely not creamy.
How to Make a Stinger Cocktail
The Stinger Cocktail was originally a stirred drink, but modern recipes call for it to be shaken with ice. Early recipes stated that a stinger should be served straight up in a chilled cocktail glass, but it has become more common for it to be served over crushed ice to make it extra refreshing.
To make your own stinger cocktail, follow the step-by-step instructions below or find a full, detailed recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Add the brandy and crème de menthe into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Mix together until well-chilled, about one minute.
Strain into a serving rocks glass filled with ice or crushed ice.
Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint if desired and enjoy immediately.
- Vodka Stinger (or White Spider): Substitutes vodka for brandy
- Mexican Stinger: Substitutes tequila for brandy
- Amaretto Stinger: Includes amaretto (uses a 3-to-1 ratio of amaretto to white crème de menthe)
- Irish Stinger: Includes Irish cream liqueur (uses equal parts Irish cream liqueur and white crème de menthe)
How Strong Is A Stinger Cocktail?
Most crème de menthe liqueurs are around 25 percent ABV (50 proof). When that is paired with an 80-proof brandy, your stinger will have an alcohol content of around 29 percent ABV (58 proof). That makes this classic cocktail a "smooth yet strong" drink, meaning it is full of flavor and won't go unnoticed.
- 1 cocktail shaker
- 1 serving rock glass
- 2 oz brandy traditionally cognac
- 1 oz creme de menthe
- fresh mint optional garnish
- ice cubes or crushed ice for serving
- Add the brandy and crème de menthe into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Mix together until well-chilled, about one minute.
- Strain into a serving rocks glass filled with ice or crushed ice.
- Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint if desired and enjoy immediately.