Hanky-Panky Cocktail Recipe

Hanky-Panky Cocktail Recipe - Cocktails - Speaking Easy Podcast

A simple classic, with a real punch to it.

This is a crisp, boozey drink that is a variant on the Negroni, but could also be considered a variant on a Sweet Martini. Instead of equal parts of all three ingredients the Hanky-Panky substitutes an equal part Campari for two dashes of the intensely bitter Fernet Branca. Fernet Branca, an amaro, is a digestif hailing from Milan, Italy. It can be served neat, but these days is more commonly a modifier in cocktails. The Toronto and Fanciulli cocktails also use Fernet Branca. At about $25 a bottle, it’s not going to break the bank, and will add versatility to your bitter flavor options.

The Hanky-Panky was created by Ada “Coley” Coleman in 1925 at the American Bar at The Savoy Hotel in London, where she was head bartender at the time. According to drinks historian Gary Regan, the drink was made for a Georgian actor and regular at American Bar, Sir Charles Hawtrey. Coley came up with a new formula and claimed that Hawtrey sipped it and, “draining the glass, he said, ‘By Jove! That is the real hanky-panky!’”

The Hanky Panky

  • 1 ½ oz. London dry gin
  • 1 ½ oz. sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes Fernet Branca


Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass, add ice, and stir well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass or couple. Express and garnish with an orange twist.