When most people talk about stingers they always seem to mention Cary Grant playing a navy pilot in Kiss Them for Me and shouting “Stingers, and keep them coming”. I however, have never seen this movie which is a surprise since I’m a huge Cary Grant fan and have seen some of his more obscure films. But that’s besides the point. See, when I think of the cocktail a different movie comes to mind: Beaches. I know, I know, please don’t judge as I admit this embarrassing piece of information. What can I say, I like Bette Midler. And since I’m such a big fan of her’s I’ve seen the movie several times. Her cocktail of choice? A stinger. So, ever since this 80’s chick flick I’ve wondered what a stinger was. Well, it’s only taken twenty-odd years, but I can finally tell you.
The stinger is a sweet after-dinner drink that can be served on the rocks or straight up. I prefer the rocks version since it is such a sweet cocktail as the ice cuts that sweetness quite a bit. What makes it so sweet you ask? The combination of the two liqueurs that make up the drink: crême de menthe and brandy. But while the drink is on the sweeter side, it’s also these two alcohols that turn it into a wonderful digestive; which is also why the cocktail is even better when paired with a rich chocolate dessert.
Unfortunately, unlike some of the other cocktails on this blog, the stinger doesn’t have a definitive creation date. I can’t tell you who or where the cocktail was created because no one bartender, bar or hotel has staked their claim. Although the stinger does appear in Esquire’s 1949 Handbook for Hosts, the drink was around long before then. Some believe it was created during the prohibition because the crême de menthe was an ideal choice to hide the home-brewed hooch flavor. But the cocktail can be found in Tom Bullock’s 1917 Ideal Bartender so that kills that theory. Then there are those that believe William Schmidt created the drink in 1891, but he referred to the concoction as a Judge so there’s no way to be sure if it was really the same drink or not.
No matter how the drink was created or who created it, it’s still a delicious digestif and should be considered the next time you’re having a decadent dessert. It’s a nice change of pace from the more traditional coffee drinks, which are pretty standard and in my opinion, kind of boring.
- 1-1/2 oz. brandy
- 3/4 oz white crême de menthe
- Pour the brandy in an old fashioned glass over ice. Add the crême de menthe, stir with a stirrer and serve.