The Hanky Panky was created by Ada Coleman, head bartender at the legendary American Bar at the Savoy Hotel in London from 1903 to 1924. Female bartenders were supremely rare at the time, and Ada wasn’t just slinging drinks in some dive — the American Bar was and is one of the best cocktail bars in the world. She was a master. Cheers, Ada!
Just three ingredients, here. If you don’t have Fernet Branca … there’s really no substitute, sorry. You should get a bottle. It’s not expensive, and it will last you forever and ever because it’s so strong and bitter that a tiny bit goes a long way.
If you’re already a Fernet Branca fan, and haven’t tried this cocktail, then you’re definitely missing out. It’s a really great example of what the bitter, clove-heavy liqueur can bring to a drink. If you’re not a Fernet Branca fan, this might also be a drink worth trying. It doesn’t use much, just a few dashes. It could easily serve as a gateway into coming to love the curious and very unique flavor of this unusual liqueur!
Oh, and I’d say two dashes of Fernet is about a quarter teaspoon, but you could go as high as half a teaspoon without unbalancing the drink. I usually just try for a little splash from the bottle.
This article is a modified and enhanced version of a post that ran on my nightly cocktail blog, DrinkShouts. Liquors in parentheses are what I used when I made this recipe, and are included as suggestions.
The Hanky Panky Cocktail Recipe
- Bar spoon
- Cocktail Strainer
- 1.5 oz. Old Tom Gin Tanqueray Malacca
- 1.5 oz. Sweet vermouth Noilly Prat
- 2 dashes Bitters Fernet Branca
- Orange twist Garnish
- Build ingredients over ice in a pint glass and stir thoroughly to combine.
- Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe and garnish with an orange twist.