Table of Contents The Manhattan, a venerable classic among cocktails, typically features bourbon or rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and aromatic...
In 1903, at the illustrious Savoy Hotel in London, Ada “Coley” Coleman, the head bartender, crafted the iconic Hanky Panky cocktail which includes gin, sweet vermouth, and Fernet-Branca.
Legend has it that the Hanky Panky cocktail was born out of a moment of inspiration, crafted for none other than Sir Charles Hawtrey, a celebrated actor of the time and a regular patron at the Savoy Hotel.
Ada Coleman, fondly known as “Coley,” was not merely a bartender, she was a trailblazer in the world of mixology. Born in 1875, Coleman entered the hospitality industry at a time when the art of cocktail-making was evolving into a refined craft. The Savoy Hotel, a beacon of luxury and opulence in London, became her playground, and she took the helm as the head bartender in the early 20th century.
It was in this prestigious setting that Coleman’s creative genius found expression. She was known for her exceptional palate, keen sense of balance, and a commitment to delivering an unparalleled drinking experience. Coleman was not only a skilled mixologist but also a trendsetter, breaking gender norms in a profession predominantly occupied by men during that era.
The recipe for the Hanky Panky cocktail was a well-guarded secret until it gained popularity and eventually found its way into the pages of one of the most influential cocktail books in history – “The Savoy Cocktail Book”.
The Savoy Cocktail Book, penned by Harry Craddock and published in 1930, is a revered compendium of classic cocktails that has served as a bible for mixologists and enthusiasts alike. Craddock, an accomplished bartender at the Savoy Hotel who succeeded Ada Coleman, compiled a collection of great cocktail recipes.
Among the illustrious recipes immortalized in the Savoy Cocktail Book, the Hanky Panky found its rightful place. Craddock, recognizing the cocktail’s allure and significance, included Ada Coleman’s creation in his comprehensive guide. This inclusion not only secured the Hanky Panky’s place in cocktail history but also allowed enthusiasts worldwide to recreate this masterpiece in the comfort of their homes.
As the decades passed, the Hanky Panky continued to endure as a symbol of timeless elegance and innovation in mixology. Its enduring popularity can be attributed to the careful balance of flavors achieved by Ada Coleman and the subsequent endorsement by Harry Craddock in the Savoy Cocktail Book. The cocktail’s legacy extends beyond the borders of the Savoy Hotel, resonating in bars and lounges worldwide.
45 ml gin
45 ml sweet vermouth
7.5 ml Fernet-Branca
Garnish: orange twist
Fill a mixing glass with ice and add the gin, sweet vermouth, and Fernet-Branca.
Stir for 5-10 seconds, until chilled.
Strain into a coupe glass.
Garnish with an orange twist.