Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

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The Lush Chef
Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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Feb 14, 2013

Hanky Panky

Looking for a sexy cocktail to make for Valentines' Day today?  Or are you sitting at home nursing a drink by yourself, or with your nearest and dearest friends?  Whatever the situation, this classic cocktail is the perfect libation to stir up for today.

The Hanky Panky was created in the early 1900s at the American Bar in London's Savoy Hotel by head bartender Ada "Coley" Coleman for the actor Charles Hawtrey.  I love that a woman concocted such a classic drink during a time when the profession was male-dominated (and still pretty much is).  Here's Ada's account behind the creation and inspiration of this libation:

"The late Charles Hawtrey...was one of the best judges of cocktails that I knew.  Some years ago, when he was overworking, 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!'"

I've recently become obsessed with Fernet-Branca, like every bartender and rightful lush out there.  I love the small amount added, which gives this drink a saffron and herbal flavor.  It's just enough to stand out and doesn't overpower the drink.  In other words, it has a bit of a punch!

Hanky Panky 
  • 1 1/2 oz gin (I used London No. 3 dry gin)
  • 1 1/2 oz sweet vermouth 
  • 2 dashes Fernet-Branca
  • Orange peel or twist for garnish
- In a mixing glass filled with ice, add the gin, sweet vermouth and Fernet.
- Stir and strain into a chilled coupe glass.
- Garnish with the orange twist.