Clover Club cocktail

How to make a cocktail: the Clover Club

The Sour is a variety of cocktail most bartenders will learn to make early in their careers, and most seasoned drinkers will have enjoyed more than a few in a lifetime. Purists generally argue over the necessity of including one of mixology's most controversial ingredients: raw egg whites.

While a bourbon sour, for example, can be open to some interpretation, there are still classic recipes that fall within the general category without allowing for such debate. The Clover Club is a great example of this: a delicious blend of gin, lemon, raspberry syrup, and egg white.

Since its creation at the turn of the last century, this cocktail has had a rise and fall in popularity, often due to the vibrant (and emasculating) pink colour.

Clover Club cocktail

I wanted to learn the proper way to make this pre-prohibition cocktail, so I went to see one of the foremost authorities on classic cocktail making in the city: Kyle Burch of 25 Liberty.
Kyle is the very definition of a Purist, making authentic cocktails in accordance with standards established before even Al Capone was old enough to drink.

Clover Club cocktail

Kyle's Clover Club starts with an empty mixing glass, cracking a fresh egg white straight in, before adding Broker's gin. Next is freshly squeezed lemon juice (he personally squeezes them himself before service). The next ingredient is the key to the pink hue that is associated with the cocktail: Raspberry Syrup - made with fresh raspberries, water, sugar, and rosewater.

Clover Club cocktail

Though this isn't generally required, Kyle maintains that this helps bring out the flavours in the raspberries, and I couldn't agree more. The slight rose flavour really brings the syrup together, rounding out the acidity in the berries and making the sweetness less jarring.

Clover Club cocktail

With all the ingredients in place, Kyle reaches behind the bar and pulls out a small Hamilton Beach blender to quickly blitz the mixture. He uses this in place of the industry standard 'dry shaking'. This process usually involves initially shaking the cocktail without ice for anywhere up to a minute, in order to emulsify the egg whites without diluting the cocktail into a watery grave.

Clover Club cocktail

This amazing technique is so simple but has so far evaded every bartender I have ever known.

Kyle explains the innovation: he was hosting a cocktail party that featured drinks containing egg. After enjoying a few himself, and repeating the lengthy process of dry shaking, he found himself wearing a lot of the drinks on his generally immaculate clothing. Remembering the blender was gathering dust in his kitchen, he started to incorporate it into his drink making. Now it takes pride of place behind the bar and helps make many of the delicious cocktails at 25 Liberty.

Clover Club cocktail

INGREDIENTS + INSTRUCTIONS

2oz of Brokers Gin
¾oz of fresh lemon juice
½oz of Raspberry syrup ( recipe to follow)
1 egg white.

  • Combine ingredients in shaker and 'dry shake' for 45-60 seconds
  • Combine ingredients in shaker and 'dry shake' for 45-60 seconds
  • Add ice then shake hard.
  • Fine strain into a coupe-style cocktail glass and enjoy.

Raspberry Syrup
2 cups mashed raspberries
1 ½ cups of water
3 cups of sugar
Rosewater to taste (approx. 5-10ml)

  • Combine all ingredients except rosewater in a large enough saucepan over medium-high heat.
  • Stir occasionally until raspberries start to break down and release their juice. Approx. 6-7 min.
  • Remove from heat and let stand for 45 minutes.
  • Strain through a fine sieve pressing down to extract as much liquid as possible.
  • Add rosewater and allow to sit for at least 1 hour.

Clover Club cocktailPhotos by Morris Lum

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