The Hanky Panky is a true pre-Prohibition cocktail. It looks old. It's a transparent drink that seems to grab the available light in the room and filter it through a sepia lens.
The taste leans on the medicinal side but, come on, we're talking an herbal triumvirate. Gin,vermouth and Fernet-Branca. There's a lot going on here and you'll know when you take your first sip. It's not that it tastes like mouthwash. It doesn't.
It tastes like you would expect a drink invented in the Roaring 20s before the Great Depression (and all that nastiness) to taste. It's bitter, no doubt. It's also structured, probably due to the Koval gin I used. I can easily see a lower quality gin unleashing all kinds of chaos.
That structure is what makes it a grown up drink.
The Hanky Panky presents itself with a little bite. It coats your tongue and goes down with tasteful notes that can remind you of maybe black tea, very slight basil, a little nutmeg? Like I said, there's a lot going on.
This is a drink with legs. Take a sip and relax. You'll know what I mean when you try it.
Few things go with a cold winter night as well as beef stew. the combination of beef, root vegetables, spices and gravy really make you feel warm inside. Oh, and don't forget a hunk of crusty bread to sop up the remains when you're almost done with it. That's a meal.
The thing is that, as you linger at the table (maybe you had a little something for desert or maybe not; we won't tell) you begin to get that feeling we all get. You know: the one where you begin to wish that, maybe, you shouldn't have had that last hunk of bread. Or maybe it was the unmentionable that sent you over the top and your stomach is rumbling.
Some would reach for Alka-Seltzer. Others would get the Tums out.
Good, cocktail loving folk would reach for the Hanky Panky.
The Hanky Panky Cocktail
1.5 ounces dry gin
1.5 ounces sweet vermouth
2 splashes (or .25 ounce) Fernet-Branca
Stir over ice and strain into a coupe. Garnish with a slice of lemon peel.
Note: I prefer to express the lemon peel over the drink for added flavor before dropping it in.