Here’s a two ingredient drink that’s stunningly simple: the Stinger cocktail! This classic drink features Cognac and creme de menthe.

Stinger cocktail

Here’s a two ingredient cocktail that tastes greater then the sum of its parts: the Stinger cocktail! Talk about sophistication. This genius combination of Cognac and crème de menthe is a classic cocktail with hundreds of years of history. But mysteriously, it reached its height of popularity in the 1970’s. Today, it’s one of the lesser known classics: but we think it needs a revival. Take one sip and it’s Cognac scented, but with a surprising minty freshness on the finish. It’s a new favorite Cognac cocktail!

What’s in the Stinger drink?

The Stinger drink is a two ingredient cocktail featuring Cognac and creme de menthe. It was invented in 1890 and became very popular in New York City as a high society drink. It was widely known during Prohibition and popular during the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Why isn’t the Stinger cocktail popular today? People have suggested some ideas, but we’re not quite convinced of the rationale (read more here). To us, this sophisticated and intriguing drink should be just as popular as classic cocktails like the Negroni or Old Fashioned. Want to try it? Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • Cognac
  • White crème de menthe (not green!)

Another two ingredient Cognac cocktail? Try the French Connection, equal parts Cognac and amaretto.

Stinger drink

What’s white crème de menthe? Is there a substitute?

The Stinger cocktail uses white creme de menthe, a unique variety of liqueur that’s not used in many other standard cocktails. Why do you need white creme de menthe, and what is it? Well, the classic Stinger is not supposed to be green! The true version of this drink has a glistening golden hue. Here’s what to know:

  • Creme de menthe is a sweet mint-flavored liqueur invented in 1885. Despite its name, there’s no cream at all: it’s made of grain alcohol that’s infused with mint. The most popular version is green creme de menthe, most famous for its use in the Grasshopper cocktail. There’s also a white creme de menthe: it’s colorless but has the same flavor.
  • What does creme de menthe taste like? It has a sweet flavor with a very strong peppermint flavor.
  • Is it worth buying? Yes! But there aren’t many more popular uses for creme de menthe in other popular cocktails.
  • What’s a substitute for white creme de menthe? Peppermint schnapps makes a great substitute.

Types of Cognac

The other main ingredient for the Stinger cocktail? Cognac! It’s a type of French brandy, a liquor made from distilling wine. There are several grades of Cognac that designate how long it’s been aged:

  • VS or 3 stars (2 years)
  • VSOP (4 years)
  • Napoléon (6 years)
  • XO (10 years)

Watch out, bottles of XO can be upwards of $200! But there’s no need to go fancy for this drink. In fact, this type of cocktail was designed to cover up sub-par alcohol with the strong liqueur. Use a VS or VSOP Cognac for the Stinger drink. (PS Hennessy is the world’s top producer of Cognac. For more drinks with Hennessy, go to Classic Hennessy Cocktails.)

Stinger drink

How to make a Stinger drink

The Stinger is so easy: you don’t even need a cocktail shaker! It’s a classic “stirred” cocktail, meaning it’s stirred in a cocktail mixing glass. Technically, you could even build it in the glass if you’re lazy (like we are sometimes!). Here’s what to do:

  • Stir the Cognac and creme de menthe in a cocktail mixing glass. Using a cocktail shaker would dilute the drink too much. So you’ll just stir it with ice in a glass, like spirit forward cocktails like a Manhattan or Martini.
  • Don’t have one? Use any glass or container you like to mix the drink! Then strain it into the serving glass. Or if you want to be more official, grab yourself a cocktail mixing glass (like this one we use).

More classic cocktails that deserve a comeback

The Stinger cocktail is a classic cocktail that’s lesser known: but deserves a revival! There are a few more classic cocktails that fly under the radar that we think should be at the top of the list:

  • Martinez It’s a better version of a Martini and a Manhattan.
  • Last Word A pale green drink that’s beautifully balanced.
  • Floradora Raspberry, lime, and bubbly ginger beer make the best match.
  • Blood and Sand Scotch, blood orange juice and Maraschino are perfectly suited.
  • Bees Knees Sound so old fashioned, but it’s incredibly tasty.
Stinger cocktail

When to serve the Stinger cocktail

The Stinger cocktail is easy but tastes complex; it’s perfect for sipping as a:

  • Happy hour drink
  • Dinner party drink
  • Late night drinks drink
  • Guys night drink
  • Cocktail hour drink
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Stinger cocktail

Classic Stinger Cocktail!


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Here’s a two ingredient drink that’s stunningly simple: the Stinger cocktail! This classic drink features Cognac and creme de menthe.


Ingredients

Scale
  • ¾ ounce white creme de menthe (white, not green)*
  • 2 ounces Cognac
  • For the garnish: Fresh mint

Instructions

  1. Stir the ingredients in a mixing glass with handful of ice. Strain into an ice filled lowball glass and garnish with mint, if desired.

Notes

*Substitute if you can’t find white creme de menthe: try peppermint schnapps. 

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: Cocktails

Keywords: Stinger drink, Stinger cocktail

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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