I have been reading, and thoroughly enjoying, Boozehound: On the Trail of the Rare, the Obscure and the Overrated in Spirits, written by spirits columnist Jason Wilson. I have learned way more about booze, both conventional and obscure, and cocktails than I ever possibly needed to know, and I’m only halfway through! It’s an absolutely enthralling read for anyone who enjoys a nice drink now and then, and I highly recommend it.
The book includes a “cocktail interlude” at the end of every chapter featuring several drinks centering around a common theme. The first chapter serves up a recipe for a Stinger Royale, which is a variation on the classic Stinger cocktail including a dash of absinthe. Since I’ve never tried a Stinger — and, in fact, like many cocktails in this book, I had never even heard of it before — I ditched the absinthe and tried the classic. Also, I have no real desire to pony up for a bottle of absinthe, especially since its mystique is pretty thoroughly bashed in that same chapter. But, a chilly night calls for a classic winter cocktail, which the Stinger surely is.
I decided to try an experiment, since Wilson suggests serving the Stinger over ice, while it’s traditionally served straight up. I took my drink straight up, and the hubby had his on the rocks,* so we could compare notes (and share sips).
*Er… on the rock. He is a big fan of giant spherical ice balls that he makes with a tray like this one.
The verdict? The on-the-rocks version was much better. The Stinger served straight up was way too minty, and, in fact, so was the rocks version until the ice melted a little bit and took it down a notch. Hat tip to Wilson — he knows his stuff. On the rocks it is!
- 2 oz cognac
- ½ oz white creme de menthe
- Lemon twist, for garnish
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add the cognac and creme de menthe. Shake well and strain into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice.
- Garnish with a lemon twist and serve fireside.