Lesson Eight: Advanced Mixology

Chapter Ten: Inserting the Stinger


Seeing as the drink that used to go by the name Picador now calls itself Margarita, it seems a shame to leave a perfectly good name lying on the shelf—especially since it basically means “stinger.” So here’s a Cuban-style Stinger, lighter and whiter but still rich and refreshing.

2 1/4 ounces white Cuban-style rum
3/4 ounce white crème de menthe
To finish: 2 drops Angostura bitters

Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass; gently tip 2 drops—I don’t mean dashes—of bitters onto the top of the drink.


Bénédictine tastes nothing like crème de menthe, but its strong herbal notes mean it requires a similar care of handling, as in the Frisco. Its exact origins unknown, this simple but supremely satisfying device first starts popping up in the 1930s. I doubt its roots lie in San Francisco itself, since true San Franciscans hate the name “Frisco.” This particular formula for the drink hails from New York’s Stork Club, in the mid-1940s.

2 ounces bourbon
3/4 ounce Bénédictine
To finish: lemon peel

Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass; twist lemon peel over the top.


The house cocktail at Brooklyn’s Chickenbone Café (see the Jewish Absinthe), this full-blooded, double-barreled, alligator-rasslin’, head-bangin’, eyebrow-plucking rip-snorter is based loosely on a gambler’s drink from the early part of the twentieth century. If consumed in reasonable quantities, it makes a fine aperitif or an equally effective digestif. If consumed in unreasonable quantities, all bets are off.

2 ounces Wild Turkey 101-proof straight rye whiskey
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon rich simple syrup
3 dashes Tabasco sauce

Shake and strain into a chilled shot glass.


A different approach to the Stinger-style liquor-plus-liqueur drink. This one touches up vodka with a little orgeat syrup (see the Mai Tai), whose almond notes are supplemented by the cherry-pit flavors of Luxardo’s uniquely funky maraschino liqueur. A subtle and pleasant drink, the Pearlescent also happens to be quite easy on the eye. The name describes it perfectly.

2 1/2 ounces vodka
2 teaspoons orgeat syrup
1 teaspoon Luxardo maraschino liqueur
Lemon peel

Shake viciously (with the lemon peel in the shaker) and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Recipes reproduced from “Killer Cocktails” by David Wondrich