A few things about the Hanky Panky. It’s ridiculously named. Fernet-Branca is an ingredient, and it’s a weird one. Like, SUPER WEIRD. More on that later.
This classic gin cocktail is rooted in London at the Savoy, but not by our friend Harry. Although he did list this recipe in his book, the true credit for this drink belongs to Ada Coleman. Bless her for finding a way to make Fernet-Branca cool and delicious.
The Hanky Panky
- 1.5 Oz. Gin
- 1.5 Oz. Sweet Vermouth
- 2 dashes Fernet-Branca This is a wine based"fancy" liqueur
- Orange To garnish
- In your mixing glass, combine your gin, Fernet-Branca, and sweet vermouth with ice.
- Swirl things around many times.
- Strain into your martini glass.
- Garnish with an expression of orange peel, or perhaps a twist.
What actually IS Fernet-Branca?
Well, I had seen this in loads of cocktails recipes, so I thought I’d give it a whirl. And how does one describe this weirdness?
Herbal? Not specific enough. But definitely true.
Licorice? Yes, getting warmer.
Ricola cough drop? That’s stale? YUP. There it is.
None of these flavors are inherently “bad”. They are unique and make for a complex layer of tastes when paired with gin. Fernet-Branca is actually quite delicious! Just weird.
And remember how GIN ITSELF was used to treat malaria? Fernet-Branca also has it’s roots in medicine. Cholera anyone?
What about the saffron! This crazy expensive spice is used worldwide, and Fernet-Branca takes 3/4 of the world’s supply.
Let’s talk Hanky Panky garnish.
Sure, the orange twist or rind is the classic way to go here. Some orange oil expressed on your drink adds another layer of flavor.
BUT…if you love brine, like in the Gibson, try a cocktail onion. The brine works well with this drink, and they are just plain delicious. Enjoy!