The History Of The Clover Club Cocktail
The Clover Club cocktail was the signature cocktail of the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel’s Clover Club in Philadelphia. The Clover Club men’s club was in operation from the early 1880s to the beginning of prohibition in 1920. The oldest and most commonly used recipe I found of the Clover Club cocktail is from the 1917 book The Ideal Bartender by Tom Bullock. The recipe in that book is “Fill large bar glass 1/2 full fine Ice. 1/2 pony Raspberry syrup. 1/2 jigger dry gin. 1/2 jigger French vermouth. White of 1 egg. Shake well; strain into a cocktail glass and serve.” That more or less translates to 15mls raspberry, 20mls gin, 20mls vermouth, and 30 mLs egg white. There is an older one from the 1916 book “Jack’s Manual” by Jack A. Grohusko, but it seems a bit odd. It has the trademark raspberry syrup, but it’s primarily orange juice and citrus with gin and mint. I mention it for knowledge’s sake, but I wouldn’t consider it canon.
I found online that Dave Wondrich found an older printing of it from the 1909 Drinks – How to mix and serve by Paul Lowe. I did my best to look that one up, but I couldn’t personally find it anywhere. I found a picture of the book’s cover but not the recipe, and copies sell for around 300 clams. So I’m not buying that to verify this short entry.
Like the Rose cocktail, common variations of the Clover Club use grenadine or currant syrup instead of Raspberry, but Raspberry is the preferred choice. No one knows what the original Clover Club’s version of its house drink was. We have a few old, pretty good guesses. The recipe I have listed is my best guess at smashing together some of the old guesses while keeping with how other old drinks similar to the clover club were made. Another common way to make it is with 60 mls gin instead of 30 gin and 30 dry vermouth. As I get older, I’m starting to like dry vermouth more and more and slightly prefer the clover club with both; younger, but when I was, I wouldn’t say I liked dry vermouth and liked the straight gin one better. So really, it’s up to what you prefer or have on hand, but both are good ways to make it.
How To Get Great Foam On Cocktails With Egg Whites.
Egg Whites are challenging to get right in cocktails. Everyone struggles with them at some point, and bartenders search for any way to make whipping them into a fluffy meringue easier. Henry Ramos hired “shaker boys” to shake for him. Some use the dry shake or reverse dry shake, others swear by only using one large ice cube, and some say you have to shake till your arms fall off. The method I like is called the Saxe Shake, and De Forest Saxe invented it in the 1880s.
The Saxe Shake is largely unknown in the cocktail world because De Forest Saxe was a soda fountain operator in Chicago, Illinois. His 1890 book “Saxe’s New Guide Hints to Soda Water Dispensers” details his shaking technique for egg drinks that produces the best foam and can be accomplished with minimal effort. Saxe states to shake drinks with eggs with only one chestnut-sized ice cube. An Ice cube from a standard ice tray is about chestnut-sized, so one or two small cubes will work. Then shake until the ice fully melts, and pour into the serving glass without straining. The small amount of ice is just enough to cool and dilute the drink, and since there are no remaining bits of ice left in the shaker, there is nothing to strain. Passing the mixture through a strainer destroys most of the bubbles you worked so hard to make. As you add soda water, the escaping carbon dioxide fills the tiny bubbles in the drink, forcing them to expand and form a large fluffy foam. Give it a try. Using the Saxe Shake, I have turned out Ramos Gin Fizzes as fast and efficiently as any other shaken cocktail with excellent results.