A Hanky Panky cocktail is a pre-prohibition drink made with just three ingredients: gin, sweet vermouth and Fernet-Branca. It's easy to make at home!
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The Hanky Panky is a simple, yet flavorful, gin-based cocktail that's fun to say and fun to serve! We know that gin and sweet vermouth go well together, but when a bit of Fernet-Branca is added, it kicks things up a notch.
A Hanky Panky tastes lightly sweet, but the sweetness is toned down by the bold, bitter herbal flavors in the Fernet-Branca. Add the botanical quality of gin and you've got a complex, aromatic cocktail that is well balanced but far from boring.
A Hanky Panky is a pre-prohibition gin-based cocktail with unique flavors!
- It's been around for over 100 years, so you know it's good!
- Only 3 ingredients, plus an orange twist for garnish.
- Bitter, sweet, herbaceous, and anise flavors combine for a very sophisticated flavor.
History of the Hanky Panky cocktail
The Hanky Panky cocktail was created in the early 1900s by Ada (Coley) Coleman, head bartender at the American Bar in the Savoy Hotel in London. She created it for actor Sir Charles Hawtrey, who requested, "something with a bit of punch in it." After hours of experimenting, she presented this new concoction to him. Upon tasting the drink, Hawtrey exclaimed, "By jove! That is the real hanky panky!" The name stuck. I love the fact that a woman invented this cocktail during a time period when it was very unconventional for a woman to work as a bartender!
Ingredients you'll need
- Gin: I like Hendricks, but choose your favorite brand.
- Sweet vermouth: There are endless choices! Dolin and Noilly Prat are widely available, but try some small-batch producers when you can.
- Fernet-Branca: This Italian amaro is an herbal liqueur made of 27 different ingredients. It has an herbaceous, anise-like flavor.
How to make a Hanky Panky cocktail
Step 1: Make the orange twists
Use a vegetable peeler or small paring knife to cut twists of orange. Careful not to cut too deeply, you just want the skin, not the white pith.
Step 2: Combine the liquors and chill
Pour gin, vermouth and two dashes of Fernet-Branca over ice in a cocktail shaker or small pitcher. Stir quickly until mixture is chilled.
Step 3: Strain and serve!
Strain into coupe glasses and garnish with orange twist.
When to serve a Hanky Panky cocktail
- Try this at happy hour alongside some Oven Roasted Nuts with Herbs and Garlic.
- Serve at your next dinner party during cocktail hour.
- A Hanky Panky is a festive cocktail choice during the holidays because of its deep red color and fancy coupe glass.
More gin-based cocktail recipes
Try these gin-based cocktails for more flavor and fun!
- The Negroni is a close cousin to the Hanky Panky made with gin, sweet vermouth and Campari.
- A Bee's Knees is the epitome of freshness, combining gin with fresh lemon juice and honey.
Hanky Panky Cocktail
- 1 ½ oz gin
- 1 ½ oz sweet vermouth
- 2 dashes Fernet-Branca
- Use a vegetable peeler or small paring knife to cut twists of orange. Careful not to cut too deeply, you just want the skin, not the white pith.
- Pour gin, vermouth and two dashes of Fernet-Branca over ice in a cocktail shaker or small pitcher. Stir quickly until mixture is chilled.
- Strain into coupe glasses and garnish with orange twist.
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