Clover Club Recipe: A Pre-Prohibition Gin Cocktail With an Unexpected Origin
If you’ve never had a Clover Club before, there’s no time like the present to give this sweet-tart gin cocktail a go. But before we get to mixing, let’s take a little look at the unexpected origins of this stunningly pink-hued drink.
The clover club originated in 1882, prior to the prohibition. To lovers of good cocktails, this fact can be quite a surprise when considering the large volume of classic alcoholic beverages that arose during the historic ban on liquor. Additionally, the cocktail sources its name from a Philadelphia men’s club that met in the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel. Due to prevailing modern-day perceptions of pink as a female-coded color, it might come across as a bit humorous or even unexpected that the Clover Club was once heartily enjoyed by gentlemanly “captains of industry.”
In an early publication of the cocktail’s recipe found in J. A. Grohusko’s “Jack’s Manual,” Grohusko wrote that the pretty drink “is said to be popular in the city of brotherly love. Certainly it is decorative for it has a soft orchid color, with a rim of white.” Grohusko’s recipe was called a Clover Leaf and featured Gordon’s Gin with a mint sprig garnish.
Another similar recipe was published in 1910, in Raymond E. Sullivan’s “The Barkeeper’s Manual.” There, it also featured a mint leaf garnish, which eventually fell out of popularity. Thus, a cocktail made with a mint garnish (and occasionally lime juice instead of lemon) is considered a Clover Leaf and not a Clover Club.
Other recipes floating around during the cocktail’s peak popularity used grenadine, a traditionally pomegranate-flavored syrup, in favor of raspberry syrup. Both of these red-hued ingredients can be utilized when crafting a Clover Club, just keep in mind that your average grocery-store grenadine is not going to deliver the same rich, fruity flavor as its original iteration.
Now, on to the recipe!
Clover Club Recipe
- 1 1/2 oz. Gin of choice
- 1/2 oz. Lemon juice
- 1/2 oz. Raspberry syrup (or high-quality grenadine)
- 1 Egg white (or 1/2 oz. aquafaba for a vegan-friendly alternative)
- Garnishes: A couple of fresh raspberries on a skewer and/or a lemon twist
With vigor, dry shake the ingredients in a cocktail shaker for 30 seconds up to a minute. Then, add ice into the shaker and shake again until the ingredients are chilled. Pour your cocktail into an icy cocktail glass, typically a Coupe or martini glass. Finally, garnish your cocktail in a way that pleases you. This could be with a popularly applied skewer of fresh raspberries or an expressed lemon twist.
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