Cheers! Making a Hanky Panky with Green Door's unique gin from Kalamazoo
“Oh, that’s cool. It’s a new-to me gin,” Tammy Coxen of Tammy’s Tastings thought to herself. Discovering a new Michigan product in the grocery store is an exciting moment for Cheers!
Tammy decided she just had to make a cocktail from Green Door Distilling’s Botanical Gin, made in Kalamazoo.
She poured a little sample of the gin and asked me to describe it. I sipped it and then I struggled to explain what flavors I tasted. But, I knew I liked them.
This definitely was not another London Dry gin. It was not as citrusy. It had a warm feel in the mouth, but I could not figure out what botanicals were used in it.
“They describe it on their website as being more herbal than most gins,” Tammy said.
Green Door described the flavor notes as curry, fenugreek, and lavender.
Now, if somebody told me I should try a gin with curry characteristics, that would not sound very good to me. But, it is good- really good.
The challenge for Tammy was how to use this gin which the label on the bottle describes as “warm & savory” into a cocktail.
She decided it might make a great hanky panky.
The hanky panky cocktail is a classic cocktail created by Ada Coleman at the Savoy in London. It was published in the Savoy cocktail book in 1930 and has become popular around the world.
“This cocktail came about when one of her customers came in and he said, ‘Coley, I’m having a really hard week. I need something that will pick me up,’” Tammy said as she retold the story.
Coleman said she didn’t have anything for him at the moment, but she would the next time he visited.
Next time he comes in, she served him her newly created cocktail and he said, “By Jove, this is the real hanky panky!”
Tammy mixed up the drink according to the recipe, using the Green Door gin and another Michigan product, a fernet from American Fifth Distilling in Lansing. (See the recipe below for all the ingredients.)
“Whenever you’re making a cocktail with ingredients that didn’t exist at the time that cocktail was created, you sometimes need to tweak it a little,” Tammy explained. She thought the drink was sweet vermouth-forward, so she added another 1/2 ounce of the gin.
Hanky Panky (original recipe)
1 1/2 oz gin
1 1/2 oz sweet vermouth
1/4 oz Fernet Branca
Garnish: orange twist
Combine ingredients in mixing glass with ice. Stir until well chilled, strain into coupe or martini glass. Garnish.
Tammy Coxen and Lester Graham are the authors of Cheers to Michigan: A Celebration of Cocktail Culture and Craft Distillers from the University of Michigan Press. The book is based on the Cheers! episodes heard on Michigan Radio.