Food - Drink
The Swanky Origins Of The Hanky Panky Cocktail
Many cocktails that we know and love today were first invented in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when the best bartenders earned celebrity status. While bartenders were usually men, Ada Coleman made her mark on the industry as one the "most iconic female bartenders of all time," per Vinepair, and as the inventor of the classic Hanky Panky.
In 1903, Coleman became the first female head bartender at the Savoy, serving some of the era’s biggest celebrities, including Sir Charles Hawtrey, who asked Coleman for “something with a bit of punch to it.” After much experimentation, Coleman presented her new drink to Hawtrey, who exclaimed, "By Jove! That is the real hanky-panky!" and thus christening it.
The classic cocktail is a combination of gin, sweet vermouth, and Fernet Branca, tasting like a sweet martini with a little more depth. The Hanky Panky was a mainstay at the Savoy during Coleman's tenure and beyond, featuring in "The Savoy Cocktail Book," and is today on the International Bartenders' Association's list of "Unforgettables."