History of the Stinger Cocktail
A stinger is a classic after dinner drink mixed with brandy and white crème de menthe. Its included in Tom Bullock’s 1917 Ideal Bartender recipe book, but prior references and speculations to the origin as named are unknown.
“The Stinger has always been considered a Society drink .. And in point of fact, New York folklore has always associated the drink with Reginald Vanderbilt (Gloria’s father & Anderson Cooper’s grandfather).
According to a gossipy 1923 syndicated piece .. ‘Reggie’ was highly devoted to the ritual of cocktail hour, which ‘was observed in all its pomp and glory in the bar of his
home mansion’ .. he would stand behind the bar - which was modeled on the one in the William the Conqueror tavern in Normandy - and shake up Stingers, ‘his favorite cocktail.’
In fact, the ‘Stinger’ was his own invention, a short drink with a long reach, a subtle blending of ardent nectars, a boon to friendship, a dispeller of care.” ~ Imbibe!
So Mr. Vanderbilt is largely credited with making the Stinger acceptable as a cocktail for other occasions including morning, noon and nightcap apparently. In the 1957 musical comedy, Bing Crosby heads to the butler’s pantry, one of many bars in the High Society movie’s mansions, and hands a morning drink to Grace Kelly as “doctor’s orders” after a long night of champagne and wine. Asked what it is, he said “oh, just the juice of a few fresh flowers called a stinger .. removes the sting.”
This drink has been in the movies outside of the upper crust of high society as well. Other notable featured film and TV appearances include Kiss Them For Me, The Apartment, Gorky Park and Mad Men.
How To Make The Perfect Stinger
Stinger Cocktail Recipe:
- 1 1/2 oz brandy or cognac
- 1/2 oz white creme de menthe
- 1 mint leaf for garnish
Add to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake ingredients thoroughly. Strain into a chilled glass and garnish with a mint leaf.
Many stinger drink variations call for a lower ratio of brandy to liqueur of say 2:1 or even lower. Easy to start with this recipe and adjust to taste by adding more creme de menthe if desired.
Mixing brandy with green crème de menthe, in place of white, yields a Green Hornet. However, many recipes claiming the same name use other green liqueur substitutions and host a hodgepodge of hooch mainly for St. Patrick’s Day concoctions. Stick with white stingers at your home bar for the classic cocktail.