In the beginning, the Clover Club cocktail was only available to a few selected folks in Philadelphia. But it developed into a drink every bartender should be able to do. It has a quite unique flavor profile for such a classic drink: sweet, sour, and fruity flavors dominate this delightful cocktail.
It's not exactly known when this drink was invented. But at least we know its origin, the recipe, and how it should be made. So read on to learn about the history of the cocktail and how you can make it at home.
History of the Clover Club cocktail
The cradle of the Clover Club lies in Philadelphia. There, in the Bellevue-Stratford hotel, a group of men came together regularly to discuss current problems in the world. Most of them were working in legal, business, and literary professions. A Gentleman club that got together to talk and have a few drinks.
It was at this place where the drink has been shaken and served for the first time. And it was exclusively available to those club members for years. Things only changed when George Boldt, the hotelier of the Bellevue-Stratford, moved to the prestigious Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City.
So together with George Boldt, the recipe for the cocktail traveled to New York City. And it was also here that the Clover Club recipe was put in written form for the very first time. The New York Press published its take on the drink as a mix of Gin, lemon juice, sugar, raspberry syrup, and egg white.
If you've tried it before, you sure know how delicious it is. So it definitely doesn't surprise, that the cocktail was a huge success. People just loved this unusual way of mixing up a cocktail.
However, after the initial hype, the fame of the Clover Club cocktail went downhill. In the 50s, it was suddenly referred to as a "Lady's drink" by whiskey-loving businessmen. And when the era of soda guns and pre-made sour mixes began, the cocktail almost vanished completely. The craft cocktail era was over. Simple-to-make drinks were in!
Luckily for us, times are everchanging, and trends tend to come back over and over again. And currently, the craft of making cocktails with fresh and quality ingredients is powerful as never was before. And with it, the delicious raspberry drink celebrated a remarkable comeback.
Why is it called a Clover Club?
The first time the Clover Club cocktail got mentioned in writing was in 1901. And since Clover Club was the name of the Gentleman's Club in the Bellevue-Stratford hotel, where it got invented, the newspaper simply took this as a reference. And the name stuck.
Substitute Raspberry Syrup
Raspberry is an essential ingredient for making a Clover Club. I am aware of claims that the original recipe included stuff like Grenadine instead. But while it's true that there are recipes asking for Grenadine, it's certainly not the original recipe. And unquestionably not the best way to make the drink.
Grenadine is too sweet, too heavy, and most importantly, not even made of raspberries. And I don't think it is adequate as a substitute in a Clover Club. So what should you do if you don't have raspberry syrup at hand? Well, you have two options:
Option one is making your own raspberry simple syrup. It's not hard to make and will deliver better results than using the bottled version. If you don't have time for that, don't worry, there's another alternative.
Instead, you can muddle six raspberries with 0.25 ounces of very fine sugar (or simple syrup) prior to making the cocktail. Use this mix as a substitute for raspberry syrup, and you will get an even fresher version of the Clover Club.
How to make the Clover Club cocktail
The Clover Club recipe asks for egg white. That is responsible for that beautiful foamy top and also gives the cocktail its smooth and silky texture. There are quite some cocktails where egg white is an optional ingredient, but the Clover Club is not one of them. There's no way you will achieve the creaminess and the characteristic look of the cocktail without this foamy ingredient. If you don't want to use egg white, there's also a vegan alternative called Aquafaba.
And because you may want a thick and consistent foam on top, you have to do a dry shake. That means shaking all ingredients without ice first. That helps to emulsify the components, which leads to a better foam. So grab a cocktail shaker and create a Clover Club.
- 1.5 oz Gin London Dry or Plymouth
- 0.5 oz Fresh lemon juice
- 0.5 oz Dry vermouth
- 0.5 oz Raspberry syrup
- 1 egg white
- 2-4 Raspberries for garnish
- Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker without ice and shake vigorously.
- Open the cocktail shaker, add plenty of ice, and shake until the cocktail is well-chilled.
- Strain into a well-chilled cocktail glass.
- Garnish with raspberries speared on a cocktail pick.