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Project Recreate … The Kentucky Stinger Cocktail

Following up on my most recent Project Manhattan post I have another cocktail to discuss from our recent journey to Brooklyn and the Clover Club.  This was quite an eventful evening, not only was it theSpeakista’s birthday but we also got to try one of the best lounges/bars in the country.  There were many great cocktails had that evening (two already mentioned in my last post) but the best by far was  the Kentucky Stinger (it was so good that the Rave, typically not a huge rye cocktail fan, but an adventurer none-the-less had twice).

Based on the name I assumed we were dealing with a riff on a classic Stinger (thanks Paul for the prior hard work) but the ingredients listed on the menu seem to be missing a key component, the source of the mint. Classically this is accomplished by using crème de menthe but that doesn’t seem to be an ingredient.

Note: the below recipe is my best guess, having attempted a few versions, at the proportions and actual ingredients used.

The Kentucky Stinger
Recipe adapted from the menu at the Clover Club (actual ingredients and proportions provided by theSpeakista)

•    1 oz rye (Rittenhouse bonded used)
•    1 oz cognac (Pierre Ferrand Ambre used)
•    ¾ oz amaro (Ramazzotti used)
•    4 dashes of chocolate bitters (Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters used)
•    Rinse (heavy) of white crème de menthe (Astor brand used)
•    Oils from two large lemon twists, save one for garnish used
Garnish: lemon twist (from above)
Glass: large rocks glass
Tools: mixing glass and bar spoon; julep strainer

Express the oils from the twists into the mixing glass and add all other ingredients except for the crème de menthe. Stir with cracked ice for about 30 seconds. Rinse the serving glass with a heavy coating of the crème de menthe and pour out excess.  Strain the chilled ingredients in the mixing glass into the rocks glass and add a large round or square ice cube. Take the reserved lemon twist and add to the drink.

This drink is not only worth trying if you have an opportunity to do so at the Clover Club but also well worth a recreate at home.  The aroma is first of mint and lingers for a little while before the herbal notes of the amaro kick in.  When it comes to the taste we are most definitely dealing with an ensemble cast of characters.  Each taste is not only present on its own but melds and blends with the others.  There is harmony in this glass.  Mint is a more subtle flavor and the rye and amaro come forth in a stronger way after a few sips.  The chocolate bitters add a great after thought on the palate that sort of linger for a while to close out the experience. I’m not sure how close I came to the original – the original clearly had a subtle minty quality to it which is why my final product here uses a rinse.  My only change to the above might be to use a less vibrant amaro or maybe a little less of it.

Creativity and the experienced imbiber: the experienced cocktailian should love this drink – multiple flavor profiles coming together in harmony to produce a wonderful drink.

For the novice imbiber: There may be a little too much going on here for the novice to like.  Learn to like these flavors on their own before combining in a drink like this.

theSpeakista’s Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)

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{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Sam March 27, 2010, 6:51 pm

    I recently purchased the Fee Bros. Aztec Chocolate Bitters and I’ve been at a loss as to how to use them. Though, one suggestion I’ve heard is to throw em in a tequila old fashioned. I’ll definitely be trying this libation. If you have any other thoughts on how to use the Chocolate Bitters, please lemme know. I’m diggin your blog, being a Carroll Gardens local and cocktail geek myself. Cheers!

  • admin March 28, 2010, 9:14 pm

    Thanks Sam. I’m a newbie to blogging and still consider myself to be a cocktail novice — just having fun. I’ve made a tequila old fashioned with the chocolate bitters and it’s very nice. Frankly it also works (although it might seem like it would) very well in bourbon old fashioned (a bourbon less on the sweeter side works better) and is very nice in a rum old fashioned (good aged rum + a little cane syrup + a few dashes of the bitters).

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ’0 which is not a hashcash value.

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