Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Classic Cocktail of The Month: Hanky Panky

In the 1920s, the London cocktail sense was at its Zenith of the 20th century.  Four thousand miles across the Atlantic, yankee bartenders were fleeing by the boat-loads to this new euphoria of cocktail culture.  The epicenter of this cocktail craze was the Savoy Hotel.  Since it's inception in 1893, The American Bar at the Savoy had always had a reputation of serving the utmost of prestigious drinks.  Before the famous Harry Cradock tendered bar, it was Ada Coleman who was the face of The American Bar.  The drink that Ada has left with us is the now cult favorite, Hanky-Panky.  Created for Sir Charles Hawtrey, a regular customer of Ada's who had been on a daunting work schedule and need a cocktail to wake him up.  After hours of experimentation with various concoctions,  Ada finally had created the cocktail she would eventually be remembered for.  Upon Charles' next visit to The American Bar Ada presented him with a Hanky-Panky After one sip of this new elixir, Sir Charles Hawtrey proclaimed in excitement, "By Jove! That is the real Hanky-Panky."

In the early 1900s the term Hanky-Panky had an entirely different meaning then today's slang for sexual mischief.  Associated with the act of a magician waving a handkerchief in order to distract viewers while the illusionist preformed his dazzling magical display.

- 1.5 oz G'Vine Nouaison
- 1.5 oz Camparo Antica Formula
- 2 Dashes Fernet Branca
- Orange Zest

- Add gin, vermouth and fernet to mixing glass
- Add ice and stir
- Garnish with orange zest

The Hanky-Panky is one of those really simple three ingredient cocktails, almost like, the bigger tougher brother of the Martini.  Like the martini, with few ingredients, it is easily done improperly by tipping the scale only slightly in one direction or another.  Sticking to the simple three ingredient DNA, my variation isn't a far cry from the original.

Barrel Aged Hanky-Panky
- 3 oz G'Vine Barrel Aged Hanky-Panky
- Orange Zest

- Add cocktail to mixing glass
- Add ice and stir
- Garnish with orange zest

Okay, okay.  So maybe I cheated a bit with this month's variation, none the less, it's still a variation.  With the barrel aged fad in full swing, nearly any major city in North America is sure to have at least one establishment flaunting barrel aged cocktails.  For example, here in Victoria B.C. , with a population of approximately 330 000, Clive's Classic Lounge boasts a rotating selection of three different barrel aged cocktails.  Currently a rye barrel Blackthorn, rum barrel Toronto and California zinfandel Sazerac hold spots in Clive's cocktail menu.

Aged for 8 weeks in new French oak the G'Vine Nouasion aged Hanky-Panky has a definite rosemary and oak note.  The vermouth has slightly oxidized, letting the gin have center stage.  The barrel doesn't necessarily make for a better cocktail, it makes for a different cocktail. While it's hard to decide which tipple is superior, there is a clear difference between the two, both of which having unique qualities.

No comments:

Post a Comment