You might remember me making the fruity, creamy, pink cocktail from Philadelphia’s Clover Club a while back, unsurprisingly named the Clover Club (I also made an upside-down version fit for Stranger Things alongside it, called the Club Clover that uses raspberry foam so make sure to check it out!). But this time, I’ll be showing you how to make 3 versions of the Clover Club - one from 1901, one from 1911, and a modern version using Super Syrup, and Lemon Super Juice.
This cocktail is special as its rise to popularity, eventual fall from grace, and recent resurrection has been the face of a modern cocktail renaissance. So how different did the cocktail world look 15 years ago? To find out I used the works of David Wondrich, who wrote about the Clover Club in his Esquire column back in 2007. Trying to make this drink more fashionable he wrote: “Nobody makes drinks with egg whites anymore, but in this case it's worth a shot - the Clover Club is unusual, tasty, strong, and not at all slimy”. I personally think this cocktail deserves more praise than just “not at all slimy”. But it’s best to make sure. With 3 recipes, just in case.
The first printed mention of the Clover Club was published in the New York Press in 1901, courtesy of Michael Killackey, the head bartender at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The recipe calls for the pony as a unit of measurement, but as they are too short to see across the bar, I’ll go with units of measurements that are more up to date.
1901 Clover Club (Walford-Astoria Hotel, New York)
• Juice of half a lemon
• Half a small spoon of sugar
• 15 mL (0.5 oz) raspberry syrup
• 7,5 mL (0.25 oz) egg-white
• 60 mL (2 oz) Beefeater gin
Not very precise measurements, I know, but the making of this cocktail is quite easy as there is no mention of a dry shake, or a double strain. So add the ingredients to a shaker with ice, shake hard and strain into a coupe, followed by a raspberry for garnish - also as a tip, it’s easier to measure egg whites if you whip them slightly beforehand. Now, regarding the flavor, it’s surprisingly balanced! The small amount of egg white provides quite a bit of silkiness and the gin works well with the raspberry, but other than that it's not really a complex cocktail (to some, that’s a great thing!).
This initial version of the Clover Club got popular and other hotels started to make it their own way. According to the 1911 “Beverages de Luxe“, the Belvedere hotel in Baltimore used lime, instead of lemon, and added 2 styles of vermouth, with less gin- it also used grenadine but in my eyes this is a raspberry cocktail and you can even use freeze-dried raspberries for it year round.
1911 Clover Club (Belvedere Hotel, Baltimore)
• Juice of 1 lime
• 1 spoon of sugar
• 1 handful of raspberries (～10 raspberries)
• 1 egg white from a small egg
• 15 mL (0.5 oz) Cocchi Vermouth di Torino sweet vermouth
• 15 mL (0.5 oz) Noilly Prat dry vermouth
• 60 mL (2 oz) Plymouth gin
Begin by adding the lime juice, sugar and raspberries to your shaker and muddle the raspberries. Then add the rest of the ingredients and dry shake to emulsify that egg white, before shaking again with ice, to chill and dilute this cocktail. Serve in a claret glass and double strain to keep out all the small bits of raspberry. Garnish with 3 mint leaves on the edge of the glass, as per the recipe. Some would say that turns this cocktail into a Clover Leaf, but there you go. This version of the Clover Club has evolved and the addition of vermouths gives it some complexity (just make sure you don’t have a heavy hand with the sugar and raspberries or it will throw the cocktail off balance). The addition of the whole egg white also gives off a slightly unpleasant aroma after a few sips.
To avoid this in the modern version of the Clover Club I decided to go a step further and combine two recipes I’ve made before: the Raspberry Water from making the raspberry syrup in the original Clover Club post - made by simmering 250 g of raspberries in 200 mL (6.75 oz) of water and straining it - and Super Syrup, combining the sweetener, fruit and foaming agent, all in one! To make Raspberry Super Syrup, just swap the water you mix with sugar for the Super Syrup with Raspberry Water and use my Super Syrup Calculator to adjust how much of it you want to make.
I’ll also use Lemon Super Juice, which means this Clover Club could actually be pre-batched and you’ll still get that nice foam.
2022 Clover Club
• 45 mL (1.5 oz) Monkey 47 gin
• 15 mL (0.5 oz) Noilly Prat dry vermouth
• 15 mL (0.5 oz) lemon super juice
• 15 ml (0.5 oz) raspberry super syrup
• 2 drops saline solution
Add the ingredients to your shaker and as always with Super Syrup, do a reverse dry shake first, so shake with ice first, then another shake without it. Strain this vegan Clover Club through a fine mesh strainer, which gives it a nicer foam, and for the garnish sprinkle some crushed freeze-dried raspberries over the top (simply grind with a pestle in a mortar, to turn them into a powder). This 2022 version is the driest tasting of the three, but with a nice balance of acidity, sweet fruitiness and botanicals from the gin. Since there’s no extra dilution from the egg white the flavors are intensified and it has a richer aroma. Vermouth, raspberry and botanicals all linger on the aftertaste.
It’s not a shocker that in this installation of “Old vs New” the New is clearly the winner, but the 1901 version was a pleasant surprise as well. Still, if you try these 3 versions out I would love to know what you think! As (almost) always, a new recipe will be up next week. Cheers, Friends of Cocktails.
To make it easier for you to try these recipes you can grab the bottles from my collection at CURIADA.
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