Time for a Drink: The Stinger

Time for a Drink: The Stinger
This recipe appears in:
Drinking in the Season

Let's get this weekend started right. And since it's a day off for many people out there, let's kick it off a bit early today. Here's a cocktail recipe from Paul Clarke (The Cocktail Chronicles) to get things going. Need more than one after yesterday? Here you go. Cheers!

While retailers started gearing up for the season weeks ago, now that Thanksgiving is over it's one long sprint to Christmas. Shopping malls opened at midnight in the suburbs around my Seattle home, and some crowds had been gathering since early Thursday morning. Without delving into news from around the country - really, checking out what's happening at the malls in Des Moines isn't my idea of a good time--I'm sure the story was repeated nationwide.

Whether you're settling in after a long day of shopping, or letting the swarm blow past you while biding your time until closer to the holiday, the dawn of the Christmas season calls for some refreshment. The Stinger isn't a seasonal cocktail, per se, but its crisp minty snap always puts me in the right frame of mind for the festive weeks to come.

While early recipes call for two parts brandy to one part crème de menthe, many contemporary palates find that way too sweet; a more brandy-heavy 4:1 ratio is much easier to handle. And while brandy is traditional, the stinger is comfortable with other spirits: I'm quite fond of substituting bourbon for the brandy, and rum works well, as does vodka, so I'm told - technically that's called a White Spider, though I doubt you've heard anyone call it much of anything lately. However you choose to fix yours, be sure to make a toast to the long holiday season ahead.

About the author: Paul Clarke blogs about cocktails at The Cocktail Chronicles and writes regularly on spirits and cocktails for Imbibe magazine. He lives in Seattle, where he works as a writer and magazine editor.


  • 2 ounces brandy (or bourbon, or other spirit of your choice)
  • 1/2 ounce white crème de menthe, to taste (to avoid an unappetizing color in your drink, be sure to use the white, rather than the green, crème de menthe)


  1. 1.

    Pour ingredients into a cocktail shaker and fill with ice; shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass (you can instead pour it over shaved ice in an old fashioned glass, if you prefer). Garnish with a fresh mint leaf.

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