Hanky Panky – Recipe from Harry Craddocks ‘The Savoy Cocktail Book’
1 part Italian vermouth
1 part French Vermouth
1 dash Fernet Branca
Stir, garnish with an orange twist
Ada Coleman was one of the first famous female bartenders and started out at Claridge’s before she presided over the Savoy’s American Bar. She worked here for 25 years prior to the eminent Harry Craddock, serving such luminaries as Charlie Chaplin, Mark Twain and Marlene Dietrich before finally when the Savoy closed for a major refurbishment.
The drink was created while America was held in the grip of prohibition, allegedly for a Charles Hawtrey (a famous actor later known for the ‘Carry On’ films) who wanted something with a bit of punch in it, Ada experimented for a while before coming up with this drink, the first time Charles tried it he exclaimed “By Jove! That is the real hanky-panky!”, and the name stuck, just like the drink, today its supposedly in the top 50 called classic drinks, although I have never been asked for one.
The term Hanky Panky has been around since the early part of the 1800’s, and its definition was something along the lines of magic or witchcraft, it wasn’t until just prior to WW2 that it started to take on a more romantic meaning. And it’s this early definition of this word which works perfectly for this drink, the drink is that classic balance of gin and Italian, but the fernet lifts it beautifully, cutting through the sweetness, the classy addition of bitters that works with all the gin and vermouth combos.
I made this during one of or gin cocktail classes at Goat, its always a bonus when we make a little to much of one of these classics as I get to finish the class glass in hand, and some nights a little witchcraft goes a long way.