There is a lesser known family of cocktails know as ‘duos’. Whilst you’re undoubtedly recognise the names – and probably the taste – of a handful of these drinks, the Black Russian and Rusty Nail to name just two, there are a whole host you’re likely missing out on. But, before you dismiss these drinks as simplistic or unadventurous, allow us to introduce you to the spikiest of the bunch, a tipple with a real sting in its cocktail – the Stinger.
First mentioned exactly 100 years ago, in Tom Bullock’s The Ideal Bartender, the classic Stinger contains brandy and creme de menthe. If that sounds horrendous to your delicate, light-lager frequenting palate, stay with us. The good Cognac you should be using will make up the majority of the drink, with only a splash of the minty alcohol being sloshed in.
During the heyday of the Stinger’s popularity, it was said to be the most common and favoured nightcap of New Yorkers. And it’s usefulness didn’t end there – the drink was then adopted as the go-to ‘hair of the dog’ after its appearance in the Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra film High Society. Cary Grant and David Niven also enjoy the drinks in a film together.
Still not enough to turn you onto the Stinger? How about a little bit of Bond? The superspy, doesn’t only enjoy a couple of Stingers at a casino with CIA agent Felix Leiter in Thunderball, but quaffs a couple more in Diamonds are Forever in the company of Bond girl Tiffany Case. And, if it’s good enough for 007…
So grab a mixing glass and add 5 parts Cognac and 2 parts white creme de menthe, stir well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Or, if you fancy something a little more manly, over rocks in a rocks glass. The only rule we’ll stress is to banish all thoughts of easy drinks or mouthwash flavours, and enjoy this spirited cocktail. Take the risk, or get stung missing out.