Perfect for Valentine’s Day
In February, our thoughts naturally turn to Hanky Panky (the cocktail, of course).
And if the name sounds like the title of a Noël Coward play, well, that’s fitting: It was invented for an actor who mentored Coward.
More history in a bit. First, we need to learn how to mix this beauty. Because your sweetheart awaits.
Recipe: The Hanky Panky Cocktail
This drink combines dry gin and sweet vermouth in equal measures, spiced up with dashes of Fernet-Branca. Essentially, it’s a sweet martini.
If that sounds strange, remember: The original martini was a sweet drink. Today’s Dry Martini was a 20th century innovation.
We discussed Fernet-Branca (a bitter herbal liqueur from Italy) in our post on The Fanciulli Cocktail. And the flavor of this drink may remind you a bit of the Fanciulli – though that cocktail features bourbon, while the Hanky Panky is gin based.
Traditionally, this drink is served “up” in a cocktail glass. But it’s also good over the rocks in an Old-Fashioned glass.
This recipe takes under 5 minutes to prepare, and serves 1.
- 1½ ounces dry gin
- 1½ ounces sweet vermouth (Italian red vermouth; see Notes)
- ¼ ounce Fernet-Branca (~2 dashes)
- orange twist for garnish (optional)
- The Hanky Panky was invented at the Savoy Hotel bar in London, early in the 20th century.
“Swell,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “This drink makes me feel like a blithe spirit.”
“Do I sense a Noël Coward riff coming on?” I asked.
“Of course,” said Mrs K R. “Like Sir Noël, I’m determined to travel through life first class.”
“Think he would have appreciated the Hanky Panky?” I asked.
“Well, he once sent Gertrude Lawrence a congratulatory telegram on her new play,” said Mrs K R. “It read, ‘A warm hand on your opening.’”
“Right,” I said. “Hope our readers enjoy the slightly risqué.”
“Yes,” said Mrs K R. “To quote the redoubtable Coward: We love criticism, just so long as it’s unqualified praise.”
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Last Word Cocktail
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