The Hanky-Panky was created by legendary bartender, Ada Coleman, ‘Coley’, who was the first (and only) female bartender at the American Bar at The Savoy Hotel.
Ada worked there between 1903-1926 and it was while she was there that the Hanky Panky was born. During an interview with the Daily Express in 1925 she recounted how the cocktail got its name:
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 essentially a sweet martini; a mix of gin and Italian sweet vermouth. However, Coleman added a few dashes of Fernet-Branca, an Italian digestif and created something completely different!
Ingredients for a Hanky-Panky
45ml dry gin (I used Fords Gin)
45ml sweet vermouth
2 dashes of Fernet-Branca
Add all ingredients to an ice-filled mixing glass and stir for 20 seconds. Strain into a chilled glass and squeeze some orange peel on top. Enjoy!