Stinger: Easy 2-Ingredient Cocktail [Ultimate Guide]

What is a Stinger?

The Stinger cocktail is a classic blend of Cognac brandy and white Crème de Menthe, a mint liqueur. This sophisticated and timeless drink is traditionally served in a martini glass, often garnished with a mint leaf. Known for its warm, rich Cognac base, balanced by the cool, minty freshness of Crème de Menthe, the Stinger offers a smooth texture and a slightly sweet, velvety finish.

Popular since the late 19th century, particularly during Prohibition, it is enjoyed as both a digestif and a versatile drink for various occasions.

  • Balanced Flavors: Warmth of Cognac and coolness of Crème de Menthe.
  • Simple Elegance: Easy to prepare with just two main ingredients.
  • Timeless Appeal: Remains a sophisticated and classic cocktail choice.
  • Versatile Occasions: Suitable for both formal and casual settings.


The classic Stinger cocktail traditionally comprises of 60 ml (2 oz) of Cognac brandy and 30 ml (1 oz) of white Crème de Menthe mint liqueur. This blend creates a harmonious balance between the rich, warm notes of Cognac and the refreshing, cool undertones of Crème de Menthe, resulting in a cocktail that’s both invigorating and comforting.

  • Cognac: 60 ml (2 oz)
  • White Crème de Menthe: 30 ml (1 oz)

Ingredient Substitutes

Substituting ingredients in the Stinger can introduce new dimensions to this classic cocktail. For Cognac, a smooth brandy or even bourbon can be a suitable alternative, offering a different kind of warmth and depth. For white Crème de Menthe, peppermint schnapps, other mint-flavored liqueur or even syrup can replace the minty freshness, albeit with subtle changes in the cocktail’s character and maybe also the color.

  • Cognac Substitute: Brandy or bourbon
  • Crème de Menthe Substitute: Peppermint schnapps, mint-flavored liqueur or syrup

Ingredient Proportions

The Stinger’s magic lies in its balance. The ideal ratio is 2:1, with twice as much Cognac as white Crème de Menthe. However, this can be adjusted according to taste. For a stronger mint flavor, increase the Crème de Menthe; for a more pronounced Cognac presence, do the opposite. The key is to maintain harmony between the two flavors.

  • Standard Ratio: 2 parts Cognac : 1 part Crème de Menthe
  • Adjustable to Taste: Increase or decrease Crème de Menthe as desired

Best Ingredients

While specific brands are subjective, the best ingredients for a Stinger are high-quality Cognac with a smooth, rich profile and a premium Crème de Menthe that offers a crisp, clean mint flavor and transparent color. The quality of these ingredients is crucial, as they shape the overall experience and taste of the cocktail.

  • Cognac: High-quality, smooth, and rich
  • Crème de Menthe: Premium, crisp, clean in taste and white in color

Flavor Profile

The Stinger cocktail presents a unique flavor profile, where the warmth and depth of Cognac blend seamlessly with the cool, refreshing notes of white Crème de Menthe. This results in a cocktail that is smooth, slightly sweet with a minty freshness, and a velvety finish. It’s a drink that’s both invigorating and soothing, making it perfect for various occasions.

  • Taste: Smooth, slightly sweet, minty
  • Finish: Velvety

Tools & Equipment

To craft the perfect Stinger cocktail, you will need a jigger to measure the ingredients; a mixing glass and a bar spoon to stir the spirits with ice so they are well combined and chilled; and finally a strainer to pour the mixed and chilled drink from the mixing glass into the serving glass, such as a martini glass.

  • Jigger: For measuring ingredients
  • Mixing Glass: For combining and chilling the ingredients
  • Bar Spoon: To stir the cocktail in the mixing glass
  • Strainer: For pouring from the mixing glass into the serving glass
  • Serving Glass: Enhances the drinking experience

Instructions for Preparation

Creating the Stinger cocktail is straightforward, making it perfect even for those new to cocktail mixing. Start by adding 60 ml (2 oz) of Cognac and 30 ml (1 oz) of Crème de Menthe into a mixing glass filled with ice cubes. Use a bar spoon to stir the mixture gently but thoroughly, blending the flavors and chilling the ingredients, while maintaining the integrity of the spirits. Strain the mixture into a chilled martini glass. The optional garnish of a mint leaf adds a touch of elegance and a hint of fresh aroma.

  1. Measure: Pour 2 oz (60 ml) of Cognac and 1 oz (30 ml) of Crème de Menthe into a mixing glass with ice
  2. Stir: Gently blend with a bar spoon
  3. Strain: Into a chilled martini glass, using a strainer
  4. Garnish: Optional mint leaf for aroma and presentation

Stir or Shake

In the world of cocktail making, the decision between stirring and shaking can significantly impact the final product. For the Stinger cocktail, stirring is the preferred method. Stirring gently combines and chills the Cognac and white Crème de Menthe, preserving the smooth texture, transparent color and rich flavors without introducing excess air or dilution.

Ice (Chilling & Dilution)

The role of ice in the Stinger cocktail is twofold: chilling and slight dilution. Using high-quality ice cubes is key. They should be large and dense, chilling the drink effectively while minimizing dilution. The right balance of chilling and dilution enhances the drink’s flavors without watering it down.

  • Ice Quality: Large, dense cubes preferred
  • Purpose: Effective chilling, minimal dilution

Pro Tip: Pre-chill the glass before serving to give it the nice frosted look and keep the drink colder for even longer period of time.

Scaling (For a Group)

Scaling the Stinger for a group is simple. Maintain the 2:1 ratio of Cognac to white Crème de Menthe, multiplying the quantities by the number of servings required. Mix in a larger vessel if necessary, and ensure each glass receives the same care in preparation and presentation for consistency in flavor and experience.

  • Scaling Method: Maintain 2:1 ratio, multiply as needed
  • Mixing: Use a larger vessel for multiple servings

Troubleshooting (Biggest Mistakes)

The most common mistakes when making a Stinger can significantly alter its taste and presentation. Over-dilution from excessive stirring or using small, quick-melting ice cubes can water down the cocktail. Another mistake is an incorrect balance of ingredients; deviating from the 2:1 ratio can overpower one flavor over the other. Lastly, not chilling the glass beforehand can result in a less refreshing experience.

  • Over-dilution: Avoid by using large ice cubes and moderate stirring
  • Ingredient Imbalance: Stick to the 2:1 Cognac to Crème de Menthe ratio
  • Glass Temperature: Always use a chilled glass


The presentation of a Stinger cocktail is as important as its preparation. The classic elegance of the cocktail is enhanced by the sophistication of the glassware. Aesthetic touches like the garnish add to the allure. A well-presented Stinger is not just a drink; it’s an experience.

Glassware (Classic & Alternative)

The classic choice for a Stinger cocktail is a martini glass, which exudes elegance and complements the sophisticated nature of the drink. An equally stylish alternative is a coupe glass, which adds a vintage charm and is excellent for showcasing the cocktail’s clarity and color. For a more relaxed setting, an old-fashioned glass is suitable, especially if serving the Stinger on the rocks. Each type of glassware not only alters the visual appeal but also subtly influences the drinking experience.

  • Classic: Martini glass
  • Vintage Elegance: Coupe glass
  • Casual Alternative: Old-fashioned glass (ideal for serving with ice and a more casual presentation)

Garnish (Classic & Creative)

The classic garnish for a Stinger is a simple mint leaf, which subtly enhances the mint notes in the drink. For a creative twist, consider adding a twist of lemon peel or a sprig of fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme. These additions can introduce a new aromatic dimension to the cocktail, making each sip a discovery of flavors.

  • Classic Garnish: Mint Leaf
  • Creative Options: Lemon Peel, Rosemary, Thyme (for aromatic complexity)

Variations & Riffs (Similar Cocktails)

Exploring cocktails similar to the Stinger opens a world of flavors. The Mint Julep offers a bourbon-based minty refreshment, while the Sidecar adds a citrusy twist to Cognac. The Brandy Alexander is a creamy delight, contrasting the crispness of the Stinger. For a chocolate-mint combo, try the Grasshopper. The Vieux Carré and Sazerac offer complex, bitters-infused alternatives, and the French Connection blends Cognac with amaretto for a nutty flavor. These variations cater to diverse palates, each echoing the Stinger’s elegant base.

The Stinger cocktail, with its unique blend of Cognac and White Crème de Menthe, has inspired various similar cocktails, each offering a unique twist. Some popular variations include:

  • Mint Julep: Swapping Cognac for Bourbon and adding a touch of sugar and mint, this Southern classic offers a refreshing alternative.
  • Sidecar: Staying within the Cognac family but introducing citrus with lemon juice and orange liqueur.
  • Brandy Alexander: A creamy variation that combines Cognac with cream and crème de cacao for a dessert-like experience.
  • Grasshopper: Swapping Cognac for cream and adding green crème de menthe and crème de cacao, creating a mint-chocolate flavor.
  • Vieux Carré: A more complex cocktail that combines Cognac with whiskey, sweet vermouth, Bénédictine, and bitters.
  • French Connection: A simple yet elegant mix of Cognac and amaretto, offering a nutty twist.
  • Sazerac: Another Cognac-based cocktail, but with the addition of absinthe and bitters, creating a rich, complex flavor.

Why not also try the other quick but delicious 2-ingredient mixed drinks?

Experiment (Creat Your Own Riff)

Creating your own Stinger riff involves balancing innovation with tradition, working with different ingredients while respecting the cocktail’s essence.

Experiment with different spirits like various brandies, bourbon or even rum for new depths. Mint elements can be switched for peppermint syrups or different mint liqueurs. Adjusting sweetness with syrups or flavored liqueurs tailors the drink to personal taste. Citrus zest adds freshness, while bitters bring complexity. Adding herbs like rosemary or thyme can infuse a unique aroma, making your Stinger riff distinctively yours.

  • Switch the Spirit: Try using different types of brandy or even a dark rum for a deeper flavor profile.
  • Alter the Mint Element: Experiment with other mint-flavored liqueurs or even a splash of peppermint syrup for a sweeter take.
  • Add a Citrus Twist: Incorporate a bit of lemon or orange zest for a refreshing citrus note.
  • Introduce Bitters: A few dashes of bitters can add complexity and depth to the cocktail.
  • Play with Sweetness: Adjust the level of sweetness by adding a hint of simple syrup or using a flavored liqueur.
  • Herbal Touch: Infuse the Cognac with herbs like rosemary or thyme for a unique aromatic experience.

Remember, the key to a successful riff is maintaining balance while introducing new flavors and textures. Experimentation should enhance the drink, not overshadow its original charm.

Serving Occasions

The Stinger cocktail, with its perfect blend of brandy and mint liqueur, is versatile, fitting seamlessly into various occasions. It is ideal for a sophisticated after-dinner drink, thanks to its digestif qualities and smooth, subtle sweetness. The Stinger also shines at cocktail parties or social gatherings, offering a refined choice that is both conversation-starter and palate-pleaser. Its elegance makes it suitable for formal events, while its simplicity allows it to be enjoyed in more casual settings too.

  • After-Dinner: Perfect as a digestif
  • Cocktail Parties: Sophisticated and social
  • Formal Events: Adds a touch of elegance
  • Casual Gatherings: Simple yet refined

Food Pairings

Pairing food with the Stinger enhances both the drink and the dining experience. Its rich, warm cognac notes and cool minty finish make it a great companion to chocolate-based desserts, creating a harmonious blend of flavors. The cocktail also pairs well with creamy dishes, as the mint cuts through the richness. For savory options, consider pairing it with grilled meats or hearty stews; the Cognac’s warmth complements these robust flavors beautifully.

  • Chocolate Desserts: Complements the sweetness
  • Creamy Dishes: Cuts through the richness
  • Grilled Meats: Matches the Cognac’s warmth
  • Hearty Stews: Balances the robust flavors
Stinger Cocktail

Stinger: Easy 2-Ingredient Cocktail

The Stinger, a classic two-ingredient cocktail with a rich Cognac brandy base and a refreshing minty twist from white Crème de Menthe peppermint liqueur, served in a chilled martini glass, often with a mint leaf garnish.
Total Time 3 minutes
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  • 1 Measuring jigger
  • 1 Mixing glass
  • 1 Bar spoon
  • 1 Strainer
  • 1 Martini glass (or coupe glass or rocks glass)


  • 2 oz Cognac (or other brandy)
  • 1 oz Crème de menthe (or other mint liqueur / syrup, ideally transparent)
  • Fresh peppermint leaves (optional; for garnish)


  • Chill Glass: Begin by chilling a martini cocktail glass.
  • Measure Ingredients: Into a mixing glass filled with ice cubes, pour Cognac and white Crème de Menthe.
  • Stir Well: Use a bar spoon to stir the mixture gently, ensuring a smooth blend without over-diluting.
  • Strain: Carefully strain the cocktail into the chilled martini glass.
  • Garnish: Optionally, add a mint leaf to the glass for an elegant touch and a hint of fresh aroma.


Calories: 236kcalCarbohydrates: 12gFat: 0.1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gSodium: 2mgPotassium: 1mgSugar: 12gIron: 0.04mg
Calories: 236kcal
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Cocktail
Keyword: Cognac, creme de menthe, peppermint liqueur
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