Hanky Panky Cocktail Recipe

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Hanky Panky Nutrition Facts





Alcohol percent:25%

Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Hanky Panky cocktail was created in the early 20th century by Ada Coleman, the head bartender at the American Bar in London's Savoy Hotel. She crafted this cocktail for the famous actor Sir Charles Hawtrey, who was looking for something new and exciting to drink. Upon tasting it, Hawtrey exclaimed, 'By Jove! That is the real hanky-panky!' And so, the name stuck.

  • Ada Coleman was one of the first female bartenders in London
  • The American Bar at the Savoy Hotel is known for its innovative cocktails and famous clientele
  • The Hanky Panky is a classic pre-Prohibition era cocktail

How Hanky Panky Tastes?

The Hanky Panky cocktail is a well-balanced mix of sweet, bitter, and herbal flavors. The gin provides a strong, juniper-forward base, while the sweet vermouth adds a touch of sweetness and complexity. The Fernet-Branca adds a bitter, herbal edge that lingers on the palate.

Interesting facts about Hanky Panky

  • The Hanky Panky is considered a variation of the classic Martini
  • Fernet-Branca, a key ingredient in the Hanky Panky, is a type of Italian amaro, a bitter herbal liqueur
  • The cocktail is typically garnished with an orange twist, which adds a bright, citrusy note


A few good options for Hanky Panky are:

  • Brockmans
  • Silent Pool Gin
  • Hendrick's Gin

Learn everything on which Gin to choose

GIN (1.5oz)

Gin brings a botanical bouquet to the party—think juniper, coriander, and citrus. It's the soul of the Hanky Panky! Too much gin, and the drink becomes a botanical bash, overpowering the affair. Too little, and the cocktail loses its backbone, becoming a wallflower that's too shy on flavor. Without gin? That's a different shindig altogether—more somber and not as perky.

Emma Rose


Vermouth adds a seductive sweetness and spice that complements the gin. It’s the yin to gin’s yang. Strike a balance; otherwise, the drink could tip into being cloying or, without enough, taste like gin with a dash of something forgettable. Without vermouth, the Hanky Panky is like a dance floor without music—sure, you can still dance, but where’s the fun?

Alex Green

FERNET-BRANCA (2 dashes)

Imagine Fernet-Branca as the mysterious guest adding intrigue with its bitter, minty touch. Just a couple of dashes lend a complexity that makes you raise an eyebrow and nod approvingly. Omit it, and the magic is lost—like a book with the last page missing. No Fernet-Branca, no Hanky Panky—it’s a non-negotiable invitee.

Mary Mitkina


The orange twist is the finishing flourish, the final bow after a stellar performance. Its citrus oils caress the nose and the rim, promising a zesty zing. Forget it, and the drink's presence is less pronounced, the olfactory opulence absent. The twist is not just a garnish; it’s the zesty zephyr that ties it all together.

Emma Rose

Recipe. How to make Hanky Panky Drink

  1. Fill a mixing glass with ice
  2. Add 1.5 oz of gin
  3. Add 1.5 oz of sweet vermouth
  4. Add 2 dashes of Fernet-Branca
  5. Stir the mixture until well-chilled
  6. Strain the cocktail into a chilled coupe glass
  7. Garnish with an orange twist

Pro Tips

  • Chill your glass before serving to keep the cocktail cold longer
  • Use a high-quality gin for a smoother taste
  • Stir the cocktail gently to avoid diluting it too much

Perfect Pairings

Appetizers & Snacks

  • Cheese Plates: The herbal notes of gin and the bitterness of Fernet-Branca balance well with creamy and nutty cheeses, like Brie or Gouda.
  • Charcuterie: Salty cured meats contrast nicely with the sweet vermouth.
  • Dark Chocolate: A piece of dark chocolate could complement the complex bittersweet flavors of the cocktail.

Main Courses

  • Grilled Steak: The bold flavors of a grilled steak can stand up to the robust profile of the Hanky Panky.
  • Pasta with Rich Sauces: Pasta dishes with meaty or tomato-based sauces will pair nicely due to the herbaceous and bitter components of the drink.


  • Tiramisu: The coffee and cocoa flavors will resonate with the digestif qualities of Fernet-Branca.

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What you could change in Hanky Panky

  • Bourbon can be used instead of gin for a different flavor profile
  • Campari can be substituted for Fernet-Branca if you prefer a less bitter taste
  • A lemon twist can be used instead of an orange twist for a more tart garnish

Explore all drinks starting with H here

And of course - twists🍹

Smokey Hanky Panky

  • Ingredients: 1.5oz Smoked Gin, 1.5oz Sweet Vermouth, 2 dashes Fernet-Branca, Orange twist
  • Recipe: Follow the original recipe but substitute the gin with smoked gin.
  • Flavor: This twist introduces a smoky undertone, offering a bolder, more intense experience—like turning up the volume at the jazz club.

Hanky Panky Tropicale

  • Ingredients: 1.5oz Gin infused with tropical fruits, 1.5oz Sweet Vermouth, 2 dashes Fernet-Branca, Pineapple twist
  • Recipe: Mix as per original, but infuse the gin with tropical fruits like mango or pineapple, garnish with a pineapple twist.
  • Flavor: A fruity escapade, as if the Hanky Panky took a summer holiday. The tropical gin leads a dance of sweet, exotic notes across your taste buds.

Vanilla Hanky Panky

  • Ingredients: 1.5oz Vanilla-infused Gin, 1.5oz Sweet Vermouth, 2 dashes Fernet-Branca, Orange twist
  • Recipe: Same as the original, but use vanilla-infused gin.
  • Flavor: The vanilla gin lends a dessert-like sweetness that whispers of indulgence. It's the the Hanky Panky after dinner mint, if you will.

In case you forgot basics how to make Hanky Panky

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Hanky Panky

What is the origin of the name 'Hanky Panky'?

The name 'Hanky Panky' supposedly came from the reaction of actor Sir Charles Hawtrey, who Ada Coleman created this cocktail for. After tasting it, Hawtrey exclaimed, 'By Jove! That is the real hanky-panky!' And so, the name stuck.

What type of glass is best used for serving the Hanky Panky cocktail?

The Hanky Panky cocktail is traditionally served in a chilled coupe glass, which helps maintain the temperature and enhances the overall presentation.

Is the Hanky Panky cocktail suitable for vegans?

Yes, the Hanky Panky cocktail is suitable for vegans as it doesn't contain any animal products in its ingredients.

What is Fernet-Branca?

Fernet-Branca is a type of Italian amaro, a bitter, aromatic spirit. It is made from a combination of herbs and spices which varies according to the brand, but may include myrrh, rhubarb, chamomile, cardamom, aloe, and saffron.

Is there a non-alcoholic version of the Hanky Panky cocktail?

There isn't a standard non-alcoholic version of the Hanky Panky cocktail, but you can substitute the gin and vermouth with non-alcoholic alternatives and skip the Fernet-Branca for a similar taste profile.

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