Mount Baker Hanky Panky
Here in the Pacific Northwest, the early ski season is typically defined by short, cold and wet days. Much as I love a beer after a day in the mountains, there's something about a quick slug of something boozy and medicinal that cuts through the cold and wet.
One of the best, lesser known classic cocktails, the hanky panky is a blend of Gin, Sweet Vermouth and Fernet. This version, – because it's what I had to use up, and because I like the less-botanical, almost whiskey-like flavour – is based around a barrel-aged Old Tom gin from Liberty Distillers in Vancouver, but you can use more or less any gin for this.
- 2 oz gin
- 2 oz sweet vermouth
- 1/4 oz Fernet Branca
- Orange peel (strips for garnish)
- Enamel mugs (or some other durable, lightweight cup)
- A good flask (I use this one from Stanley, but any flask that you can throw in your bag that wont leak works)
The night before you head up, mix the spirits in whatever you happen to have, just dump them in and stir. Pour the mix into the flask and stick it in an outer pocket of your pack. The cold air will help chill the cocktail while you ski. Put the orange peel into a small plastic bag and toss it into your pack.
When you're ready to drink, pack down a snowball and swirl it around in your mug for 10-15 seconds. This will cool down the cup and leave a small amount of water and snow.
Dump out the snowball, then rub the orange peel on the rim of the cup and toss it in the mug.
Pour in the cocktail and drink. This is probably best done when you're no longer in avalanche terrain.