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Hanky Panky Cocktail

Hanky Panky

This simple mix of three ingredients remains one of the greatest classic cocktails.

At the turn of the 20th century, a young bartender secured a coveted position at the American Bar inside London’s Savoy Hotel. One of the first female bartenders to gain celebrity (she was once christened England’s “most famous barmaid”), Ada “Coley” Coleman is the first woman to have headed the American Bar. Coleman is said to have mixed drinks for patrons including Mark Twain, Marlene Dietrich, and Charlie Chaplin. Today, her legacy is still sipped through her most famed invention—the Hanky Panky cocktail. As its origin story goes, one day the actor Sir Charles Hawtrey requested something with a bit of “punch in it.” Coleman mixed up the blend of gin, vermouth, and Fernet-Branca, to which Hawtrey proclaimed, “By Jove! That is the real hanky-panky!”

“I see this as the cleverest combination of flavors that support one another,” says Erik Lorincz, former head bartender at the American Bar. The venerated hotel bar serves a slightly modified Hanky Panky recipe with Punt e Mes used for the vermouth, upping the drink’s bitter factor. “It’s just like a Negroni, Daiquiri, or Old Fashioned, where only three ingredients are combined in perfect proportion with the best technique, resulting in one of the greatest classic cocktails surviving today,” adds Lorincz.


  • 1 1/2 oz. London dry gin
  • 1 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 1/4 oz. Fernet-Branca
  • Tools:barspoon, strainer
  • Glass:coupe
  • Garnish:orange twist


Stir all of the ingredients with ice until chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe and garnish.

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