Here we have an old-time, pre-Prohibition classic! The Clover Club is named not after my favorite bar in Brooklyn, but after a men’s club based in Philadelphia that met at the famed Bellevue-Stratford Hotel (which is now a Hyatt, but still in the same building). Reports place the genesis of this club as early as 1882, but the most definitive source says it formed in 1896. The drink itself first appears in cocktail books from 1917, but is probably several years older than that.
“Pink Drink” or not, this cocktail was the choice of the powerful men who ran the various Philadelphia industries. The Clover Club would gather to discuss business of the day and share a cocktail before, one assumes, heading home to their fabulous mansions for dinners of goose and caviar. Or cheesesteaks, perhaps. This is Philadelphia, after all.
The drink is a simple combination of gin, raspberry syrup (often augmented with simple syrup to keep the sourness in check), and lemon juice. Egg white is used to give the cocktail a silky mouthfeel and a big, foamy head. As I’ve mentioned before, eggs are much safer than their reputation and you probably shouldn’t worry about them, but if it’s a concern, you can buy pasteurized egg whites in just about any grocery store.
I like to use organic raspberry syrup (which you can also get in most grocery stores), preferably with actual bits of berries floating in it. I find it has a more legitimate raspberry flavor while still adding a little bit of the same sort of “preserved” twang you get from Rose’s Lime Cordial, which I like in this drink. In a pinch you can use muddled raspberries or even pomegranate grenadine, but I think raspberry syrup works best.
This recipe uses the classic proportions, which are pretty light — makes sense for a pre-dinner drink. Me, I like to take the gin up to two ounces.
This article is a modified and enhanced version of a post that ran on my nightly cocktail blog, DrinkShouts. Liquors in parentheses are what I used when I made this recipe, and are included as suggestions.
The Clover Club Cocktail Recipe
- Cocktail shaker
- Cocktail Strainer
- 1.5 oz. Gin New Amsterdam
- .75 oz. Fresh lemon juice
- .25 oz. Simple syrup
- .5 oz. Raspberry syrup
- 2 tsp. Egg whites About half a large egg's worth
- Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and “dry-shake” without ice for ten seconds to emulsify the egg white.
- Add ice and re-shake to chill. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. No garnish.