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April 2016

Misbehaving And Messing Around -- The Hanky Panky

Tasting some forbidden fruit?  Thinking about doing something you probably shouldn't?  Regardless of the answers, the Hanky Panky might be for you.  The term dates back to the mid 19th century, and the cocktail is from the 1920s. Ada Coleman, a bartender at the American Bar at  the Savoy Hotel in London (it is brilliant in the British sense of the word -- see London Calling), created it for one of her loyal patrons.

Hanky Panky1.5 ounces dry gin (I used The Botanist)
1.5 ounces sweet vermouth (I love Carpano Antica)
2 dashes Fernet Branca

Combine in a shaker with ice, stir with the desire ignited when engaging in some you know what, and strain into a chilled glass.  Orange peel garnish optional.

The Hanky Panky has the distinction of being the first gin cocktail in the Den.  I've discovered a couple of gins I like in that they don't taste like a pine cone.  The sweet vermouth and Fernet Branca act as counterpoints to the gin, so the result is a nicely balanced drink.

Modern definitions vary slightly, but the term frequently arises (pun intended) in a sexual context, e.g. the 1966 song "Hanky Panky" by Tommy James and the Shondells.  You may notice a recurring theme with certain cocktails in the Den, e.g.  the Hanky Panky, the Between the Sheets, the Passion, and the Intense Ginger Sutra.  Infer as you like.