Hanky Panky Cocktail

Difford's Guide
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Serve in a

Nick & Nora glass

Garnish:

Orange zest twist (go easy - orange oils add unwanted bitterness if overdone)

How to make:

STIR all ingredients with ice and strain into chilled glass.

1 1/2 fl oz Rutte Dry Gin
1 1/2 fl oz Martini Rosso sweet vermouth
1/12 fl oz Fernet liqueur
1/24 fl oz Orange juice (freshly squeezed) (optional)
2 drop Difford's Saline Solution (or ½ pinch salt) (optional)
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Review:

This is basically a Sweet Martini influenced by the addition of bittersweet and aromatic fernet liqueur.

Variant:

Although not classically used in the original recipe, the Hanky Panky is changed, and for some (including me) improved, by the addition of a dash (1.25ml or so) of freshly squeezed orange juice. Be sure to use fine strained juice but, even then, its addition slightly clouds the appearance of the drink but the hint of fruit freshens, helps balance and lift the heavy fernet liqueur. A dash of orange juice crept into my recipe for the Hanky Panky around 2010 but sadly I didn't record who or what occasion inspired this variation.

History:

Created in the early 1900s by Ada "Coley" Coleman at The Savoy's American Bar, London, for actor Sir Charles Hawtrey (1858–1923).

Recipe adapted from Harry Craddock's 1930 The Savoy Cocktail Book.

HANKY PANKY COCKTAIL.
2 Dashes Fernet Branca.
½ Italian vermouth.
½ Dry gin.
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. Squeeze orange peel on top.

Harry Craddock, 1930

Coley was quoted in London newspapers around the time of her retirement, including the Daily News on 21st December 1925 under the "Cocktail Lore" column in a piece titled "Savoy's Women Mixer to retire"; and in The Sphere on 2nd January 1926 in a piece titled "The Cocktail Queen" .

Miss Coleman-"Coley " as she is known to the frequenters of the American Bar at the Savoy Hotel-is retiring on a pension in January.
She knows all there is to be known about cocktails.
"Coley" has seen thousands of Englishmen and Americans drinking cocktails. Their differences, she says, are as follows:-
Englishman, Likes dry drink. Drinks slowly. Is good judge of cocktail. Examines it meditatively.
American, Likes sweet drink. Drinks quickly. Cannot distinguish one drink from another. Ruminates over flavour.
Miss Coleman has mixed cocktails for the Prince of Wales, Mark Twain, James Corbett, Mr. " A." and hosts of oilers. Once she invented a new cocktail for Sir Charles Hawtrey, who said, when he had finished it, "By Jove, this Is the real hanky panky!" And Hanky-Panky has been its name ever since.

Daily News, 21st December 1925

It was Sit Charles Hawtrey who christened one of her notable inventions. Going into the bar one day, he said, "Coley, I'm half dead; what can you do to make me quite alive?" With skillful hands Miss Coleman made a mixture. The famous actor revived. Next day he returned. "I'm half dead again; give me some more of that hanky-panky stuff." He had it, and the cocktail became Hanky-Panky from that day forth to thousands of connoisseurs.

The Sphere, 2nd January 1926

Coley is thought to have created her now famous cocktail in 1921 when Hawtrey was both producing and starring in Ambrose Applejohn's Adventure at the Savoy Theatre next to the hotel. Earlier that year he'd also produced Basil McDonald Hastings' Hanky Panky John, a farce in which revolves around discovering who stole a £100 note. The Sporting Times, 5th February 1921, handily reveals that the title character is a butler "nicknamed Hanky Panky because he had invented a cocktail so-called – had arranged the stolen note spoof..." So, Hawtrey was recounting a recent production when he christened Coley's creation "the real Hanky Panky."

Ada "Coley" Coleman perfected her craft at Claridge's Hotel and left to start at The Savoy in July 1903, where she became Bar Manager of the hotel's famous American Bar, a position she retained until being displaced by Harry Craddock in January 1926. She then briefly ran The American Bar at Gatti's restaurant (near to The Savoy on the Strand) before her much-publicised retirement. The Hanky-Panky is by far her most famous creation.

Nutrition:

One serving of Hanky Panky Cocktail contains 166 calories.

Alcohol content:

  • 1.6 standard drinks
  • 24.48% alc./vol. (48.96° proof)
  • 23 grams of pure alcohol
Difford's Guide remains free-to-use thanks to the support of the brands in green above. Values stated for alcohol and calorie content, and number of drinks an ingredient makes should be considered approximate.

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Makes a minimum of ... cocktails
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* This list may not include all required ingredients.
Price per cocktail is an estimate based on the cost of making one cocktail with the available ingredients shown above and does not include any postage charges.
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