Monday Classics: The Clover Club

Monday Classics: The Clover Club

People often ask me how I come up with my blogs posts. Sometimes it’s a well-planned, well-researched kind of thing. Other times it’s a moment of inspiration or it’s a reflection of my thoughts about something emotional, whether happy or sad. Often sad – I know, I know. When it comes to Monday Classics, I’ll usually look through some of my books and wait for something to tug at my interest. This week a friend posted an article about a Clover Club on my Facebook wall and made things very easy for me. I’m very happy that he did because although it’s a drink that is one of the signature cocktails of Philadelphia, I realized that I knew very little about it.

Like many classic drinks, the Clover Club is a pre-Prohibition era cocktail that has its roots in a social club of the same name that met in the Bellevue-Stratford hotel in Philadelphia. The Clover Club’s members were a group of bankers, lawyers, and businessmen described by the Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar book as men who “dined and wined, and often wined again.” The drink began appearing on menus outside of Philadelphia around 1910, and road a wave of popularity until just after Prohibition, when it quickly fell out of fashion. It didn’t help that Esquire magazine called it a “drink for pansies” in 1934, and even listed it as one of the 10 worst cocktails of the decade. Definitely undeserved! The Clover Club resurfaced as the craft cocktail movement began its resurgence, and it’s now back on drink menus everywhere, especially in Philadelphia.

The Clover Club is a blend of sweet and sour, leaning mostly to the sour side. It does have an egg white in it, so if you are a vegan or just don’t like egg whites in your drinks, remember that the liquid from chick peas makes a fine substitute. Shake twice here: once without ice (to get the drink really frothy) and once with (to get it nice and cold). If you don’t have a raspberry syrup, you can substitute some raspberries muddled in simple syrup as an alternative, but you’ll have to bump up the amount and strain the solids out before using it in the cocktail.

The Clover Club

2 oz your favorite gin
½ oz fresh lemon juice (half a lemon)
2 tsp raspberry syrup (or ½ to ¾ oz simple plus muddled raspberries)
1 egg white

Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker without ice and shake vigorously for 30 seconds or more. Add the ice and shake again. Strain into a chilled cocktail class. Garnish with skewered raspberries. Enjoy!

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