After a big dinner, we enjoy mixing up a classic digestive cocktail known as the Stinger. Inevitably, we all end up in the library with drinks in hand. We keep a framed image of a distinguished looking gentleman among our cocktail books. This encourages guests to ask about his identity and opens up conversation to educate people on the first African American cocktail book author in known American history–Tom Bullock.
Not much is known about Mr. Bullock. He appears to have been born in Kentucky to a freed married couple in 1873. He made bartending fame at the Pendennis Club in Louisville as well as the St. Louis Country Club. He served quite a few powerful people, including George Herbert Walker, the grandfather of our 41st President George Herbert Walker Bush, who was such a fan he wrote the forward in Mr. Bullock’s book.
The earliest Stinger recipe we have in our cocktail book collection goes back to Tom Bullock’s The Ideal Bartender published in 1917. The Stinger is an after-dinner drink typically made with brandy, though various other liquors can be substituted. Mr. Bullock instructs to make a stinger in the following manner:
Stinger–Country Club Style
Use a large Mixing glass; fill with Lump Ice.
1 jigger Old Brandy.
1 pony white Creme de Menthe.
Shake well; strain into Cocktail glass and serve.
I prefer a two to one ratio of even more brandy to menthe. No matter the proportions, the stinger has been seen sipped in the swankiest New York nightspots and remains a classic the world over.
article by LeNell Camacho Santa Ana