If I were stranded on a desert island—a desert island with a bar, that is—and I could have only one book to use when my memory failed me, then Harry Craddock’s 1930 "The Savoy Cocktail Book" would keep me company. It’s probably the 20th century’s most important tome of its kind.
Craddock, an American who fled the country when Prohibition hit in 1920, documented hundreds of drinks that he served (and, in some cases, invented) at American Bar in London’s swank Savoy Hotel. More than a few of them—the Pegu Club, for instance—are still served today in cocktail bars.
Up until last weekend, ironically, you couldn’t get one of Craddock’s—or anybody else’s—drinks at American Bar. The Savoy was closed for a nearly three-year renovation and reopened on October 10. The establishment has been updated and modernized, but cocktail fans will still recognize the historic bar.
Craddock wasn’t the only head bartender at the Savoy who stood out from the crowd. He followed Ada Coleman, after all. “Coley,” as she was known to her regulars, graced American Bar from 1903 until 1925 and served drinks to just about everybody, including Mark Twain, Diamond Jim Brady and the Prince of Wales. Toast her today by fixing her signature Hanky Panky, a fabulous mixture of equal parts gin and sweet vermouth, with a couple of dashes of Fernet-Branca thrown in for good measure.
This recipe is adapted from Charles H. Baker Jr.’s 1939 "The Gentleman’s Companion."
Watch Now: How to Make a Hanky Panky
- 1 1/2 oz Gin
- 1 1/2 oz Sweet vermouth
- 2 dashes Fernet-Branca
- Garnish: Orange twist
Add all the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice and stir.
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish with an orange twist.