The first time I head the words clover club uttered I was on the client side of the bar. The bartender on duty that night regaled his blissful experience of sipping a clover club at a swanky bar high above the noise of New York’s busy streets to an audience that hung on every word. I wanted one right then. No, I needed one. So when the story ended and murmur of conversations resumed I flagged down the bartender and ordered myself a clover club.
A few moments later the bartender returns with a pink drink in an oversized V-glass. I gladly pulled the glass over and take a whiff – it’s not at all what I imagined it should smell like. Sour and astringent. Hesitant, I took a sip. It didn’t taste at all like I imagined it would either.
The drink was strong and biting with acidic overtones dominating the glass. It was also sweet – way too sweet. The bartender stood leaning over the bar waiting for a response. So I asked him what was in it. Gin, sour mix and Rosie’s grenadine. Yuck.
Turns out that like many cocktails that have been around for a while the Clover Club has, for better or worse, undergone it’s fair share of experimentation – in this case worse.
This signature cocktail of the 1869 Philadelphia men’s club originally contained just a handful of ingredients harmoniously blended together into a smooth, slightly pink concoction.
Gin: The only real requirement for gin here is that it plays well with the raspberry in the glass so pretty much any citrus forward gin will do. When I’m behind the bar I usually use Tanqueray 10 as it’s readily available and it’s a reliable workforce in the field. Its a gin produced in the New Western style which downplays the juniper and scales up the other botanicals – in this case the citrus. When I’m at home I tend to use either Aviation or St. George Botanivore (have you noticed that I mention them a lot?). Botanivore is made in the traditional style but it is supremely made and an absolute treat to have (especially in a good ol’ G&T). Today, however, I’ll be playing it safe with Hendricks London Dry Gin.
Raspberry syrup: I don’t know how may commercially made syrups were available back in 1869 but I doubt it’s the score that we have at our disposal today. As always, when it comes to craft cocktails quality counts so don’t skimp. At my bar we use Monin’s raspberry puree to do the job but if you’d prefer to skip the pre-made syrup (as I do in my home bar) you’ll do just as well to muddle 4-5 fresh raspberries in the bottom of your mixing glass before the mix.
Lemon: As my regular readers know I say this in every post regarding citrus juice. Squeeze your lemons to order. Seriously. I know it may be tempting to pick up a bottle or two (or four) of lemon juice from Costco’s baking aisle but don’t do it! The enzymes in citrus begin to break it down almost immediately after its juiced so fresher is better. Just pick up a Mexican behave strainer and juice away. It’s super simple and way better. Your taste buds will thank you.
Egg Whites: Again, I’m on repeat here. Fresher is better. Right out of the chicken is the best. Wash the egg shell before cracking as most salmonella resides on the shell rather than inside the egg itself. If you’re not familiar with working with egg (whites) in cocktails check out the crash course here.
- 1 1/2 oz Gin of your choosing
- 1/2 oz Fresh squeezed lemon
- 1/2 oz raspberry syrup
- 1/2 oz egg white.
- If using fresh raspberries add into a cocktail glass with 1/2 oz Fresh lemon juice
- Muddle raspberries and lemon juice together
- Add remaining ingredients
- Dry shake hard until egg is well whipped
- Add ice, shake 10 -15 seconds
- Double strain into mixing glass if fresh raspberry was used
- Dry shake again to build up egg foam
- Pour into chilled coup glass