Stinger Cocktail Recipe

By Timo Torner / Last updated on May 7, 2023

The Stinger is an elegant two-ingredient cocktail. It is a perfect after-dinner drink that is as easy to sip as it is to make.
Stinger cocktail on silver tray garnished with mint; next to jigger

Made with Cognac and white crème de menthe, the Stinger Cocktail is a sophisticated representative of brandy drinks. The recipe is simple and makes for a potent and minty sip that pairs perfectly with a luscious chocolate-based dessert.

Quick Facts Stinger Cocktail

  • Method: stirred
  • Flavor profile: dry, mint, boozy
  • How to serve it: over crushed ice
  • Best glassware: rocks glass
  • Alcohol content: ~ 28% ABV, 23.5 grams of alcohol per serving

Mi up the Stinger, a drink that once had an immense impact on society and was regarded as an upper-class cocktail.

Stinger cocktail on silver tray garnished with mint; next to jigger

Stinger Recipe

A fine and refreshing drink made of Cognac and white crème de menthe.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American, French
Keyword: Brandy, Cognac
Servings: 1
Calories: 217kcal
Cost: $3.90


  • 2 oz Cognac
  • 0.75 oz White crème de menthe
  • 1 Sprig of mint


  • Add both ingredients into a mixing glass with plenty of ice.
    2 oz Cognac, 0.75 oz White crème de menthe
  • Stir the drink until it's well-chilled.
  • Strain into an Old Fashioned glass filled with crushed ice.
  • Garnish with a fresh sprig of mint.
    1 Sprig of mint


Serving: 3ozCalories: 217kcalCarbohydrates: 3.5gSodium: 1.75mgSugar: 3.5g
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Recommendations for the Ingredients

The Stinger cocktail is a beautiful two-component drink with both ingredients being native to France: Cognac & Crème de Menthe. Here are our recommendations:


For a great Stinger, you need a quality VSOP Cognac. VSOP stands for Very Superior Old Pale and refers to quality Cognac, where the youngest brandy in the blend has aged no less than four years. Excellent value for money are, for instance, Hennessy and Rémy Martin. 

Yet, if you want to get something more budget-friendly, the VS from Hennessy is a more economical alternative, or also, a Salignac is fine for mixing.

If you're after one of these recent celebrity expressions, try D'Ussé Cognac or Branson.

White Crème de Menthe:

Crème the Menthe is a peppermint liqueur. Crème, in this context, does not refer to the consistency of the liquor but to the high amount of sugar it contains. We usually use the product from DeKuyper for this drink.

The minty liqueur is available in colorless and bright green. Even though both taste more or less the same, the Stinger Cocktail always is made with the white version to get a better visual.

Shaken or Stirred?

We like our Stinger Cocktail stirred and served over crushed ice. However, traditionally a Stinger is shaken on ice and then strained into a chilled coupe glass (without ice).

The reason this question frequently comes up when discussing the Stinger Cocktail is that, typically, spirits-only drinks are stirred and not shaken. However, in this case, it used to be different. 

Nowadays, you can find all sorts of ways to prepare the drink. Stirred on ice in a mixing glass and then strained into a glass filled with crushed ice is our favored method because the cocktail remains cooler and tastes even more refreshing.

Stinger Cocktail with fresh mint on silver tray

How to make it

According to the general rule for cocktails with alcoholic ingredients only, we prepare this drink stirred in a mixing glass. Also, a rocks glass is the standard to serve the Stinger Drink:

Step 1: Add ice cubes to your mixing glass and fill in the Cognac and the mint liqueur.

Step 2: Use a bar spoon and stir for about 20 seconds (this usually equals approximately 50 rounds). That's the time it takes to chill the drink properly and achieve the necessary dilution.

Step 3: Strain your cocktail into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice and garnish it with a sprig of fresh mint.

History of the Stinger Recipe

Historians agree that Reginald Vanderbilt invented this drink in his home bar. Yet, Jacques Straub was the first to publish the recipe in written form in his book Straub's Manual of Mixed Drinks in 1913. 

Stinger recipe from Straub's book "Straub's Manual of Mixed drinks": 
1/2 jigger brandy
1/2 jigger creme de menthe, white
1 lemon peel
Shake, strain into cocktail glass

Back then, it was received as an interpretation of the Judge cocktail, published about 22 years earlier. The Judge was part of German-born bartender William Schmidt's book called The Flowing Bowl from 1891. Its recipe consisted of Brandy, crème de menthe, and a bit of gomme syrup for balance. 

Judge cocktail recipe from William Schmidt's book "Flowing Bowl"

Vanderbilt's version became an instant success with the high society of New York City. Part of this society were the Vanderbilts, an American family that had immigrated from the Netherlands and built an empire in shipping and railroads.

Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt was a child of Cornelius Vanderbilt - the richest American until his death in 1877. Also, he was a keen cocktail maker living in a mansion on 5th Avenue in NYC. He even had a full-grown bar in his mansion where he experimented and mixed cocktails for himself and his guests. 

In his book Imbibe, cocktail historian and author David Wondrich once recounted a newspaper from 1923 crediting "Reggie" Vanderbilt with the invention of a drink called Stinger, which explains the upper-class status of the cocktail. 

The Stinger Cocktail in Movies

Like other cocktails known from film and TV, this drink also starred in successful productions like the film High Society. It is a movie from 1956 with Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. Also, secret agent James Bond drinks a Stinger in Diamonds are forever

However, over time, the love for the flavorful two-ingredient cocktail faded. And after the 1970s, the drink became more and more forgotten. Today it is a very rare find in cocktail bars around the world.

Related Drinks

Cognac may not be the number one spirit in today's world of mixology, but there are still some beautiful classic drinks worth trying:

Subscribe to Cocktail Society!

Receive our latest recipes, reviews, and insights - straight to your inbox.
Subscription Form

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

ContactAbout usPrivacy PolicyTermsSitemap
Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases from

© 2023