The Hanky Panky cocktail is a pre-Prohibition cocktail created by Ada Coleman, history’s most famous female bartender.
The Hanky Panky is referenced in The Savoy Cocktail Book by Harry Craddock and was created at the American Bar in the Savoy Hotel in London by bartender Ada Coleman who worked there between 1903 and 1926. “Coley” as she was known, was the first and only female bartender at the Savoy Hotel. She created the cocktail for Sir Charles Hawtrey and related the story to The People newspaper in 1925:
The late Charles Hawtrey… was one of the best judges of cocktails that I knew. Some years ago, when he was overworking, he used to come into the bar and say, “Coley, I am tired. Give me something with a bit of punch in it.” It was for him that I spent hours experimenting until I had invented a new cocktail. The next time he came in, I told him I had a new drink for him. He sipped it, and, draining the glass, he said, “By Jove! That is the real hanky-panky!” And Hanky-Panky it has been called ever since.
The Hanky Panky is an equal parts cocktail, a variation on the original Martini made with gin, sweet vermouth balanced with the herbal and bitter notes of Fernet-Branca.
Hanky Panky Cocktail Recipe
- 45ml gin
- 45ml sweet vermouth
- 2 dashes of Fernet-Branca
Garnish: orange peel
Add gin, vermouth and Fernet-Branca to a mixing glass filled with ice and stir. Strain into a chilled coupe and express the orange peel on top to release the oils then use as garnish.
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