The Hanky Panky cocktail is a variation of a sweet martini and the child of one of the first female bartenders, Ada Coleman – “Coley”, who was the head bartender at the Savoy Hotel in London for 23 years. Coley invented the cocktail for one of her regular customers, the late Sir Charles Hawtrey (an actor and a writer), who according to Coley was one of the best judges of cocktails she knew. That inspired her to spend hours experimenting to invent a fresh new drink for him. Eventually, she came up with something and after drinking it he said, “By Jove! That is the real Hanky Panky”. This happened in the early 1900s, and it has been Hanky Panky ever since.
The recipe is simple but brilliant, and it calls for gin, sweet red vermouth, and Coley’s secret ingredient – 2 dashes of Fernet-Branca (a bitter Italian digestive). Ada Coleman’s signature cocktail is included in Harry Craddock’s “The Savoy Cocktail Book” from 1930 and is on the list of IBA Official Cocktails.
On the list of IBA Official Cocktails.
- 1 ½ Ounce (45 ml) of London dry gin.
- 1 ½ Ounce (45 ml) of sweet red vermouth.
- 2 dashes Fernet-Branca.
- Garnish with an orange twist.
- Add all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir until well chilled.
- Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
- Garnish and enjoy.