Hiking last weekend I ended up with a bee in my shirt. The boy and I had stirred up a hive and they were buzzing around. My first instinct was to run or swat at them, but they weren’t stinging, just flying all around us. I figured they were curious about the two big bears that had wandered so near to their home. So we made a calm retreat, it was then that I realized I had a stowaway on board. A hitchhiker that had slipped up my sleeve. Once again, my instinct was to swat at it and take the sting, but I decided to try and set a good example for the kid about staying cool under pressure, so I talked him through the process as I helped the little fella get back to the air and we all walked away unscathed, maybe a little wiser. Being cool, calm and collected worked out, this time. So, in honor of our little friend, won’t you join me now as we stand and make the Midnight Stinger.
This one was originally created by Sam Ross of Attaboy fame, the New York version. One can only assume that it was dreamed up late one night after an amazing meal. Sam laughing quietly as he performed his alchemy behind the bar. I’ve got no idea where the name comes from or what the inspiration was for the drink. (I later learned, this one is a riff on the classic Stinger.) If it had honey in it my anecdote would have tied in better, but this recipe leans toward more toward a digestif than a meadow. What can I say, I was trying to find a personal connection to this drink and last weekends honey bearers was the the closest thing I had to a Sting, if you don’t count that summer at the Royal Albert Hall with Seth and Gordon. Still, keeping your head and making decisions calmly, after assessing the situation is a good policy. So, we are gonna go with that and leave the other tale for another day, as we shift focus by making the drink.
Grab your tins and pop in 1 ounce of whiskey, I went with Buffalo Trace; 1 ounce of Fernet-Branca, 3/4 of an ounce of fresh squeezed lemon juice, 1/2 an ounce of rich simple syrup and a couple of stabs of Angostura bitters. Add ice and shake to the beat of “Soldiers Under Command” by Stryper, the original yellow and black attack. When your tins are well chilled strain into a rocks glass over crushed ice and garnish with a sprig of mint and a lemon peel.
This is nice, would make a lovely after dinner drink. That makes sense with the fernet as a digestif, whisky and lemon leaning into a nightcap. Yeah, I could see keeping this on the late night menu, rolling it out like some sneaky tiki drink. Even though this one isn’t really a tiki drink, that mint crown has me thinking, maybe roll some tiki bitters in there, a little pineapple, a dark rum. I think I’m sidetracked into a new drink at this point. Anyway, I like it.
Keeping it calm, cool and collected, like you were on crushed ice. It is easier said than done, but like Samuel, I am trying. Trying, real hard. The kid makes it easier some days, like with the bees. I had to set the standard even though I was a little freaked out having a bee buzzing in my blouse. I had to stay calm though, to show him that there is strength in keeping your head. He’s still a little too young to read Dune, so he doesn’t understand about fear being the mind killer yet, but he will. For now, I have to do the whole lead by example thing, with varying levels of success. Dealing with bees, was a win. Dealing with him circumventing the firewall on his school laptop, not so much. Like I said, I am trying. Some wins, some losses, all washed down with a boozy digestif nightcap after tucking the boy in and kissing him good night, as one does. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.