Pity the poor Clover Club cocktail. Going from a mainstay of any self respecting early 20th century drinking man's repertoire to becoming the Cosmo of it's day. This was a traditional tipple of turn-of-the-(last) century cocktail culture, mentioned in cocktail books going back to 1911, and ordered by a person described thusly 55 years ago in Jack Townsend's The Bartender's Book (thanks to Cocktail Chronicles): "The Clover Club drinker is traditionally a gentleman of the pre-Prohibition school. He may not necessarily be one of the legal, literary, or business figures who were members of the club of that name. He may never have been in the bar of the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia where the Clover Club members foregathered and the drink originated. But he belongs with that set." From that to the favored drink of post-WWII Carrie Bradshaw's?! How could such a thing happen?
That's what I set out to find, when in a fit of election news induced thirst (probably after listening to Ms. Civics Lesson, Sarah Palin try to describe what the vice-president does, and failing miserably...again). And being secure enough in my masculinity not to be threatened about being a Gilded Age sissy, I grabbed the requisite tools of cocktail investigation, the most important being a bottle of gin and a cocktail shaker, and delved into the mystery. Some gin was spilled, eggs were cracked, citrus was squeezed, and there was a certain amount of straining done to come to the conclusion that the forgotten, formerly respected then spurned Clover Club Cocktail is one kick ass concoction! The Cosmo of its day? Maybe, but it is a great cocktail for our day! I can't wait to make this for friends. Rich with body from the egg white, with a nice balanced sweet-tart flavor, I dare you not to like this one!
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Clover Club Cocktail
adapted from Jason Wilson/The Washington Post
There are innumerable recipes for the Clover Club available. I liked the sound of this one from Jason Wilson, the Post's spirits columnist. I also read others where raspberry syrup (like Torani or Monin) can be subbed for the grenadine. I also would play around with the citrus ratio. But all in all, this was a pretty damn tasty drink as is! -bb
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce grenadine (4 dashes)
Juice of 1/2 medium lemon (2 tablespoons)
1 large raw egg white
Fill a tall mixing glass two-thirds with ice. Add the gin, grenadine, lemon juice and raw egg white. Shake vigorously for 30 to 60 seconds to form a good froth. Strain into a martini glass and serve immediately.