Sharkbait’s Cocktail of the Week: Hanky Panky

Greetings fellow drinkers. This week’s drink is another pre-prohibition classic. I decided that after the last couple weeks of going a little off the board and exploring the cocktail spectrum, we’d go old school, and not because I now have a bottle of Fernet Branca and need an excuse to use it. We’re mixing up a Hanky Panky.

No Teddy. Not a Swanky Panky

The Hanky Panky was invented by Ida Coleman in the American bar at the Savoy Hotel in London in the 1920s. This version comes from “New York Cocktails” by Amanda Schuster

1 1/2 oz. Gin

1 oz. Sweet vermouth

2 dashes Fernet Branca

Orange peel for garnish

Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Strain into a coupe. Express the peel over the drink and then arrange it over the surface of the drink.

Why is a cocktail invented in London featured in a New York focused cocktail book? Your guess is as good as mine, but either way, it’s in there and it is something. The recipe calls for dashes of the Fernet, and having made this a few times already, I need to invest in a spout in order to properly meter out the bitter. It’s difficult to “dash” an open bottle. I keep trying my best but I think that I over do it on the Fernet every time. It  dominates the spirit if there is too much added. Even a flavorful base like gin can’t stand up to too much Fernet.

That isn’t to say this is not a good drink. If the ratio is maintained, I can see these flavors playing very nice. The recipe even makes mention of how this is a cocktail that shouldn’t work but it does. That’s the thing with these pre-prohibition drinks. Sometimes, the ingredients seem like they wouldn’t necessarily play nicely together, but they do, and they tend to pack a punch.

(Banner image found here)


Sharkbait has not actually been bitten by a shark, but has told people in bars that he was for free drinks. Lives in Boston, married to a Giants fan, he enjoys whisk(e)y, cooking, the Rangers, and the Patriots.
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Moose -The End Is Well NighnomonkeyfunSharkbaityeah rightblaxabbath Recent comment authors
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Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh

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yeah right

Having never tried Fernet how would you describe the flavor profile?


Fernet is like pegging. Either you’re into it or it really hurts when it gets into you.


Fernet is like pegging in that if I ever try it there will be a lot of gin involved.


Do chicks enjoy giving the pegging? That’s a detail I’ve always wondered about in such practicing couples (nttiawwt).


IANAL(lesbian), but they seem to enjoy doing it to each other, so I imagine if you have the right tool(no need for phrasing here) it is enjoyable to the lady friend in a straight couple.

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh

A lot of doms enjoy the role reversal…. so I’ve read.


Express the peel