Something that’s often lost in the modern-day cocktail frenzy are these certain categories or types of drinks where the base liquor isn’t the potation’s (love that word!) defining characteristic. Consider, for example, the very word cocktail; in its nascence, it had a rather strict interpretation, but what made it strict wasn’t which type of liquor you used, but what else you put in the glass: A mixture of any liquor, sugar, water and bitters.

As another example, I’ve done a couple of swizzles on this site, and as I’ve discussed before, a swizzle means any drink made with a liquor, a liqueur, fruit juice and crushed ice.┬áSome of these (categories? subgenres? I wish I knew better nomenclature for what I’m talking about — one of my cocktail books lists them in the back as “Versatile Cocktails”) you do find at places like Death & Company, which has the Robert Johnson Swizzle, and Employees Only, which makes a Ginger Smash. (A smash begins as a julep does, with muddled mint and sugar in the bottom of the glass, then ice. Some folks then say you just put in whatever liquor and you’re done; I’ve also seen that a little club soda with an orange-and-cherry garnish is needed to make it a proper smash. Having said all that, Employees Only pretty much just muddles and ices and calls theirs a smash.)

Smashes, shrubs, fizzes, swizzles, slings, flips, rickeys, fixes — I love this stuff! Today, we are going to talk about another Versatile Cocktail category/subgenre, the Stinger. A stinger is basically made by adding a half-ounce of white creme de menthe to a shot of liquor… I will wait a moment to allow for any unintended gag reflexes. I know it sounds bad, but really it’s not!

I’ve found recipes for a Brandy Stinger, a Tequila Stinger, a B&B Stinger, but today I want to share the one I like best, Stella’s Stinger, which does things a little differently. In turn, I’ve done things a little differently from the recipe as I originally found it.

Stella’s Stinger

(Adapted from The Bartender’s Bible: 1001 Mixed Drinks And Everything You Need To Know To Set Up Your Bar by Gary Regan)

1 1/2 ounces Espolon Tequila Blanco

1/2 ounce Sauza Anejo Conmemorativo

Splash of white creme de menthe

Splash of Pernod

Coat the insides of a highball glass with the Pernod. Fill glass with ice and combine all other ingredients into the glass. Stir briskly. Garnish with lemon twist (optional).

Tasting Notes:

The Espolon is a 100% agave tequila, if that means anything to you. It’s got a very sweet and pleasant nose. I’m not sure how much I’d trust this recipe with rail tequila or Jose Cuervo.

I reduced the white creme de menthe down from a teaspoon to a splash. I have a theory that the reason Stingers are no longer popular is that we as a drinking culture really don’t care for creme de menthe anymore, and I didn’t want the drink to taste overpowered. It’s really good the way I wrote it, promise!

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