One of the most simple cocktails, and it's one that you can make at the drop of a hat - The Hanky Panky. A wonderfully aromatic and herbaceous alternative to your average martini, made with (barely) 3 ingredients that should always be in your cocktail quiver: Sweet Vermouth, Gin, of course, and possibly the worlds most infamous amaro: Fernet Branca.
A cocktail invented by legendary head Bartender at the Savoy Hotel in London, Ada Coleman, one of only two women (frustratingly) to hold the position. While behind the stick at the hotel's 'American Bar' she served icons like American Author Mark Twain and acting royalty Charlie Chaplin. She was known to craft bespoke cocktails for her guests - one being the Hanky Panky. After tinkering and tailoring it for weeks, she served it to comedic actor Charles Hawtrey, a keen judge for a good cocktail, whose frivolous response of 'By Jove! This is the real Hanky Panky!' was the catalyst of the cocktails namesake.
As a drink, it's a bit of a riff on a sweet martini, but with a wonderfully aromatic twist of Fernet Branca that takes this drink to new heights. The good news, for those who have had a not so positive experiences with Fernet (Hi Bartenders!), it does not leave the intense, bitter, herbaceous and menthol flavour in your drink, as you are only using 1/12th of a shot, it's a definite support act, bringing the more aromatic and herbal notes in the vermouth out. If you're looking for an Australian alternative, use Never Never Distilling's Black Juniper Amaro. It's a sipper, but still an absolute ripper. Definitely the real Hanky Panky - onya Charles.
the hanky panky
45 ml australian gin
45 ml sweet vermouth
2.5ml fernet branca
add all ingredients to a cocktail stirrer with plenty of ice. stir down for about 15-20 second and double strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with lemon peel.