The Clover Club cocktail is one of Philadelphia’s best pre-prohibition drinks. Its popularity is so famous that it also has its own bar in Brooklyn, New York specifically named after it. For a fancy, light tasting cocktail, the Clover Club is essential.
What Is a Clover Club Cocktail?
With the increasing popularity of cocktails, Old Fashioned’s are not the only drink choice available. For a light, but tart taste, a Clover Club cocktail has withstood the test of time.
How Did it Get Here?
The Bellevue-Stratford hotel in Philadelphia was the best place to be seen in the early 1900s. It was also the host of an all-male members-only club called The Clover Club. The Clover Club cocktail, once made popular by the original lawyers, writers and businessmen from the hotel, is now making the rounds at many new bars across the country. When its recipe was published in the New York Press in 1901, people immediately took notice.
By the 1950s, Clover Club cocktails became a “lady’s drink”. Because of feminine associations with raspberries, the new clientele was largely female. When cocktails began using pre-made, bottled mixers, the drink became almost obsolete for both men and women.
Because the use of fresh ingredients was not a priority in most cocktails around this time period, the Clover Club became less popular. Whiskey sours, Margaritas made with special, pre-made margarita mix and daiquiri mixes took over the cocktail market. None of these cocktails required fresh raspberries, let alone eggs.
Although a Clover Club may take a little extra effort, its taste and delicacy makes up for any extra time creating the perfect mixed drink.
How Do You Make a Clover Club Cocktail?
This drink is especially unique for its ingredients. While not exotic, the elements used to make a Clover Club cocktail are different than most others. At first, raspberry syrup may seem intimidating; but once you read through the recipe, you’ll find it’s just a few extra steps to making a great cocktail.
Raspberry Syrup Recipe
When separating egg whites, beat lightly with a fork to break it up first.
Fresh eggs make a big difference when adding foam to the cocktail. Pasteurized eggs are treated to destroy salmonella. Farmers markets or fresh farms are a perfect alternative to grocery stores or corner markets.
If you are buying packaged egg-white product, pasteurization is required. This process includes heating the eggs just enough so that it destroys any salmonella that may be present. It does not, however, cook the egg. While the pasteurization process helps with the possibility of food related illness, it will also impact the flavor of the egg. If you are sensitive to the flavor of eggs, this may be apparent in your cocktail. The other drawback to using pasteurized eggs is the froth. With non-pasteurized eggs, the froth is more full, making your cocktail more like a dessert. While the froth is still there with pasteurized eggs, it may be less full.
Fresh raspberries are also recommended, but frozen can work as well. When buying frozen raspberries from the grocery store, make sure to check for additional ingredients that may not be listed on the front. Since raspberry season is not year-round, buying from the produce section may not always be an option.
Syrup can be prepared ahead of time, but not required. If you decide to forgo the syrup option, fresh raspberries are a good substitute. This way, the raspberry flavor remains thoroughly integrated into the drink even when the syrup isn’t added.
First Variation Recipe
By using raspberry preserves, you may miss some of the fresh raspberry flavor that comes from using organic ingredients, but this is an easier solution that you may use no matter what season it is. When picking out ingredients from the store, check for corn syrup, as that may change the flavor and texture of the drink. If you are under a time constraint, this recipe is perfect for a crowded room. Because of its ease, this recipe is also great if you want a casual Clover Club for just yourself or one other special person.
(Raspberry Preserves Substitution)
This recipe uses much more gin and whole egg white. Don’t be daunted by its measurements. Though the recipe is larger, it will last much longer.
For raspberry preserves, try using Bonne Madam Raspberry Preserves, which has no artificial components. This is a good option for those who may be allergic to corn syrup. Corn syrup can also have a negative impact on the flavor of a Clover Club cocktail.
The Vermouth Variation
For the Vermouth variation created in 1901, the version that The Clover Club Cocktail Bar in Brooklyn uses, alter the recipe just slightly.
The Vermouth Clover Club was included in Paul Lowe’s 1909 book Drinks: How to Mix and Serve. By using ⅔ oz gin and ¾ oz dry vermouth, you can add a layer of depth that may be missing from just the ⅔ oz gin.
What Makes the Perfect Clover Club Cocktail?
Whether in a restaurant/bar or at home, there is no wrong place to enjoy a Clover Club. Its rich history and sophistication make this drink a rare breed. Since our current culture has steered toward the organic and natural selection of food, the Clover Club cocktail seems an obvious choice for the health conscious.
The Clover club is perfect for ordering out, especially when you’re tired of the same usual cocktails offered in every restaurant. While a martini or a whiskey sour may easily be crafted, the Clover Club not only has elegance, but also a famous history attached to its name.
The Clover Club is equally enjoyable as a treat for friends while serving at home. For occasions of three or less people, the modified recipe works perfectly for less formal settings. Its complexities allow it to be as versatile as one needs it to be.
The Best Way to Enjoy a Clover Club
If drinking at home, you may find the temptation to buy pre-made ingredients. True, it is easier to buy pre-made syrup or grocery store eggs, but to drink a Clover Club in its truest form, the authenticity is most accurate when the ingredients are fresh and natural. While your Clover Club cocktail may still taste great with additives like corn syrup or pasteurized eggs, the delicious flavor that only fresh ingredients can bring is always best when serving mixed drinks.
To get the most out of your cocktail, using organic eggs and fresh raspberries is recommended for an incredible taste.
Although the Clover Club cocktail first appeared on the scene many decades ago, its taste and sophistication are still available to anyone willing to make one carefully. Whether you are throwing a literary party from the early 1900s or just stopping into a bar on the way home from work, the Clover Club adds class with an unusual flavor. No matter where you are, this is the perfect mix for a perfect cocktail.