The Stinger cocktail is part of the family of duo or trio cocktails, meaning mixed drinks that combine a spirit and a liqueur for duo cocktails, and the addition of a creme such as creme de menthe or Irish cream for trio cocktails. It is difficult to pinpoint the exact characteristics of these types of cocktails because there are many of them and there are many variations on the recipes as well. However, it can be said that they are generally sweet, because they contain the liqueur which adds a special flavor.
As for the Stinger cocktail, there is no basic recipe, but rather numerous variations; thus, a stinger is usually a mixed drink where creme de menthe is added to a spirit. The more classic recipe is a combination of brandy and creme de menthe, but there are many other spirits that you can add. Although we don’t know much about the origins of this cocktail and who invented it, we do know that it was first mentioned in writing in a bartender’s book, in 1917. The book was called Ideal Bartender and it was written by Tom Bullock.
The classical recipe for the Stinger cocktail is made by pouring three parts brandy and one part creme de menthe in a shaker and shaking them well; the result is then poured in a cocktail glass and served straight. However, some prefer to serve it on the rocks, so it is rather a matter of taste. Other popular variations of this cocktail are the Green Hornet which is made by mixing brandy with green creme de menthe instead of white one; or the Vodka Stinger, where brandy is replaced by vodka. Lastly, the Kremlin Colonel, more similar to the Mint Julep than the Stinger, is made by mixing vodka with fresh mint.
The Stinger cocktail used to be very popular during the 1940s and 50s; it was especially a favorite of New York, where it was considered the perfect nightcap. It was even referenced in numerous movies of the time, such as The Bishop’s Wife from 1956; there, Dudley the Angel orders a round of Stingers for the ladies from the church, with whom he was having lunch. In High Society, Gordon Richards’ character, the butler, prepares stinger cocktails for those who had abused champagne the previous evening, as a sort of remedy for hangovers.
Other movies where this cocktail is mentioned are Kiss Them for Me from 1957 with Cary Grant and Jane Mansfield, The Apartment from 1960 with Jack Lemmon, or Gorky Park from 1983.