Hanky Panky Cocktail

Hanky Panky Cocktail

2 Dashes Fernet Branca.
1/2 Italian Vermouth. (1 1/2 oz Vya Sweet Vermouth)
1/2 Dry Gin. (1 1/2 oz Tanqueray Gin)

Shake (stir, please) well and strain into cocktail glass. Squeeze orange peel on top.

This is from a document I got from the Savoy Hotel:

…the American Bar at The Savoy was in situ by 1898 while the newly rebuilt Claridge’s which opened in the same year, had a separate bar, distinct from its other public rooms. Even The Berkeley had an American Bar by the early years of the next century.

The first of a string of famous barmen in The Savoy’s American Bar was actually a barmaid, who had begun her employment at Claridge’s in 1899 . Ada Coleman’s father had known Richard D’Oyly Carte, and when he died, D’Oyly Carte suggested that she might care to earn her living by working in the bar at Claridge’s, which had been newly opened in 1898. “Coley” came over to the American Bar at The Savoy in July 1903, and retired in December 1924. Her most famous creation was the Hanky Panky, which she invented for Sir Charles Hawtrey, and which was so named by him.

Much has been written about Ms. Coleman by such luminaries as the ladies of Lupec, (By Jove! Now That’s The Real Hanky-Panky) and Dr. Cocktail (In his column in Imbibe! Magazine), so I won’t cover that much. Besides, the above quote is all I’ve got to go on.

Though, in my usual stickler manner, I will note that the American Bar at the Savoy Hotel opened in 1898, and Ms. Coleman did not join as head barman until 1903. She wasn’t the first head barman, just, “the first in a string of famous barmen,” as the quote above notes.

As usual, I think it is worthwhile to pick a gin with some spine, if you’re going to go Fifty-Fifty in a cocktail.

I’ve made the Hanky Panky before and enjoyed it. I can’t say I thought, previously, that it was a great drink, just a very good drink. Something about this combination of ingredients, or my mood, really worked on the evening when I made it as above.

Maybe all the Gin and Sweet vermouth cocktails I’ve been making over the last couple weeks have given me better perspective, but this classic of Ms. Coleman’s is definitely worth risking the consequences of a dalliance.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

7 thoughts on “Hanky Panky Cocktail

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