*Recent ruminations from LUPEC Boston, as published in The Weekly Dig.
by Pinky Gonzales + Pink Lady
Women’s History Month is upon us! Today we’ll raise a glass to bartending forebroad Ada Coleman, creator of the Hanky Panky, which is also the namesake drink of LUPEC Boston founder, Misty Kalkofen.
Coleman was the first head barman at the famed American Bar in London. As the story goes, “Coley,” a mixologist of reputable character who could trash-talk with the best of them, invented the drink for a colorful bar regular. Coleman spoke of it herself, to a London newspaper in 1925:
“The late Charles Hawtrey … was one of the best judges of cocktails that I knew. Some years ago, when he was over working, he used to come into the bar and say, ‘Coley, I am tired. Give me something with a bit of punch in it.’ It was for him that I spent hours experimenting until I had invented a new cocktail. The next time he came in, I told him I had a new drink for him. He sipped it, and, draining the glass, he said, ‘By Jove! That is the real hanky-panky!’ And Hanky-Panky it has been called ever since.”
Coleman worked at the American Bar at the swank Savoy Hotel from 1903-1926, during the cocktail’s coming-out era in Europe. Owners renamed their establishments “American Bars” as a selling point—a way of distinguishing them from mere pubs or gin & tonic joints. The American craft of mixing up Sazeracs, Martinis, Ramos Gin Fizzes and the like became all the rage. Coleman’s barstools saw the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Marlene Dietrich, WC Fields, Prince of Wales and Mark Twain.
Bartender Harry Craddock filled Ada’s role managing the bar in 1924, after he had left dry America for work abroad. In 1930, he published The Savoy Cocktail Book, an Art Deco gem & many a bartender’s bible. In it, for the first time, is the printed recipe for the Hanky-Panky, below. Mix one up as you toast Coley whose spirit lives on in the likes of modern bartending broad, LUPEC’s own Hanky Panky.
The original, from the Savoy Cocktail Book
2 Dashes Fernet Branca
1/2 Italian Vermouth
1/2 Dry Gin
Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass. Squeeze orange peel on top.
FOR MORE GREAT STORIES AND LORE, VISIT LUPECBOSTON.COM.