The stories behind cocktail names are almost always fascinating and the Hanky Panky is no different. Luckily the Hanky Panky recipe does not in fact require any hanky pankys, but, the history of the name and the flavor speak for themselves.
The classic gin cocktail was created by Ada Coleman, Head Bartender of the American Bar in the Savoy Hotel, London in the 1920’s. It was originally intended for Sir Charles Hawtrey, an actor at the time who requested a new drink and upon tasting exclaimed, “By Jove! This is the real hanky-panky!” And so the name was born.
The bitter-sweet cocktail can fall under the category of a martini with a kick. That is due to the use of the Italian bitter, Fernet-Branca, which is essentially a mixture of herbs and spices with a higher alcohol content compared to the average bitters with notes of licorice and menthol. It might sound strong, because it is, but when used with carful measure adds a uniquely delicious flavor to a cocktail.
The simple cocktail made for sipping is comprised of only three ingredients. Gin, the base of the cocktail, Fernet-Branca, the star of the cocktail, and sweet vermouth, the sweet balance of the cocktail. Stirring the gin drink in ice before serving is important when making the Hanky Panky in order release enough water for dilution, resulting in a chilled and smooth cocktail hour.
- 1.5 ounce Gin
- 1.5 ounce Sweet Vermouth
- 1/4 teaspoon Fernet-Branca
Into a shaker or mixing glass add in all of the ingredients and stir. Pour into a glass of your choice, garnish with an orange twist, sip, and enjoy