The Clover Club cocktail – Cocktail of the Month

24 February 2010
The Clover Club cocktail – Cocktail of the Month

Brooklyn is New York's most populous and colourful borough, with 2.5 million residents. An independent city until its consolidation with New York City in 1898, today the borough continues to have a distinct culture of its own, with an independent arts scene and a community that has thrived in recent years as the affordable, "edgy" alternative to Manhattan.

As the community has thrived, so too has its restaurant and bar scene - no longer is it necessary for you to schlep across the Brooklyn Bridge for a decent cocktail.

One of the best examples is the Clover Club, named after the Clover Club cocktail: a Philadelphia import, thought to originate in the bar of the old Bellevue-Stratford, where the Clover Club - composed of literary, legal and business types - would congregate from the 1880s to the 1920s to eat, drink and chat.

The motto of the club was: "Who enters here leaves care behind, leaves sorrow behind, leaves petty envies and jealousies behind".

Today Clover Club in Brooklyn is run by an industry great, Julie Reiner. The bar is a tribute to the craft of the cocktail and has one of the best drinks lists in the USA.

True to the original cocktail definition of some 200 years ago, the Clover Club cocktail is a mixture of liquor, bitters, sugar and water. Interestingly, Esquire's Handbook for Hosts from 1949 lists the drink among the Pink Ladies and Alexanders in the "Something for the Girls" section. But for me, the drink is a true classic, best enjoyed at the beginning of an evening.

Here is the pre-Prohibition recipe, as listed in Old Waldorf Bar Days:


  • 2oz gin (Beefeater is an appropriate choice)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 oz raspberry syrup
  • 1 egg white
  • 1tsp sugar


Shake well and serve in a chilled Martini glass.

For those not too sure about the egg white, it is worth remembering that alcohol and citric acid are enemies of salmonella. If, however, you prefer to use pasteurised egg, it will work just as well.

Robbie Bargh, director, Gorgeous Group

020 7091 7492

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