In its early days, the Clover Club cocktail was only available to a few selected folks in Philadelphia. But it evolved into a drink every bartender should be able to do.
The raspberry cocktail has a quite unique flavor profile for such a classic drink: sweet, sour, and fruity flavors dominate this delightful cocktail.
It's not precisely known when the drink was invented, but we know where, its recipe, and how to make it to perfection. So read on to learn about the history of the cocktail and how you can make it at home.
Ingredients of the Clover Club
The Clover Club recipe calls for five ingredients: Gin, freshly squeezed lemon juice, Dry Vermouth, raspberry syrup, and one egg white.
For the Gin, I recommend using London Dry or Plymouth Gin. For instance, I like to use Sipsmith, Tanqueray, or Beefeater - all three are London Dry.
Plymouth Gin is a bit drier than London Dry and has more pronounced citrus notes. - Read more about the different types of Gin here.
Dry Vermouth is a French fortified wine infused with herbs and botanicals. Two of my favorite brands for cocktails are Noilly Prat and Dolin Dry.
The egg white is necessary to create the right mouthfeel and creaminess in the Clover Club cocktail. It doesn't alter the flavor but is still vital for the drink.
Also, if you don't have raspberry syrup, there are some good ways to substitute it and some not-so-good ways. But I'll get back to that in a minute. First, I want to talk about the origin of the Clover Club.
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 got together regularly to discuss current problems in the world.
Most of them were working in legal, business, and literary professions. The hotel was a Gentlemen's club that brought the upper class together to talk and have a few drinks.
It was at this place where the Clover Club had 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.
Together with George Boldt, the recipe for the cocktail traveled to New York City. And it was there that the Clover Club recipe was written down 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 the Clover Club before, you surely 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 drink
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.
Once 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, time changed, and old trends do come back. The craft of making cocktails with fresh and quality ingredients is as present as it has never been. 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.
Clover Club was the name of the Gentleman's Club in the Bellevue-Stratford hotel, where it got invented. So, the newspaper simply took this as a reference. And the name stuck.
Substitute Raspberry Syrup
Now, back to the raspberry syrup. The fruity sweetener is an essential ingredient for making a Clover Club.
I am aware of claims that the original recipe included Grenadine instead. However, despite some recipes online asking for Grenadine, it's certainly not the original recipe. And doubtlessly not the best way to make the drink.
Grenadine is too sweet, too heavy, and most importantly, not even made of raspberries. So what should you do if you don't have raspberry syrup at hand?
You basically have two options:
Option one is making your own raspberry simple syrup. It's not hard to make and will deliver even 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 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 best Clover Club cocktail
The Clover Club recipe asks for egg white. That is responsible for that beautiful foamy top and 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 is absolutely no way you can achieve the required creaminess and characteristic look of the cocktail without this foamy ingredient.
If you don't want to use raw egg white, there's also a vegan alternative called Aquafaba.
And since you may want a thick and consistent foam on top, you have to perform 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 make some amazing Clover Club Cocktails.
- 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.1.5 oz Gin, 0.5 oz Fresh lemon juice, 0.5 oz Dry vermouth, 0.5 oz Raspberry syrup, 1 egg white
- 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.2-4 Raspberries for garnish