The Cocktail College Podcast: The Stinger

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When he wasn’t ordering them around town, the late millionaire, gambler, and notorious drinker Reginald Vanderbilt would shake up Stingers for guests at his Upper East Side Néo-Grec mansion. That standing in high society undoubtedly boosted the drink’s 20th-century popularity, cementing the Stinger as “the king of after-dinner cocktails,” as David Wondrich describes in “The Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails.” Likewise, legendary bartender and author Dale DeGroff has some pretty choice words about this drink: “What goes with a Stinger? Another Stinger.”

These are lofty words of praise from some of the brightest characters in mixed drinks, especially when considering their subject: a two-part mixture of Cognac or brandy and crème de menthe. The latter is not an ingredient we often cover on “Cocktail College,” nor is the Stinger something you regularly encounter on cocktail menus. Today’s guest made the bold move roughly eight years ago to place the Stinger on the opening menu of her bar, and truth be told, she and her team have been converting drinkers ever since.

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On this episode of “Cocktail College,” we’re joined by Laura Maddox, bar manager and owner of Austin’s Small Victory, to help us dissect the Stinger. Tune in for more.

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Laura Maddox’s Stinger Recipe


  • 1 ounce crème de menthe, such as Tempus Fugit or Giffard
  • 2 ounces Cognac, such as Frapin, Dudognon, or Brandy Sainte Louise
  • Garnish: lemon twist


  1. Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with Clinebell ice.
  2. Stir until chilled.
  3. Strain into a chilled coupe glass.
  4. Garnish with a lemon twist.

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Tim McKirdy
Small Victory Bar