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Food & Drink

We make the classic Clover Club cocktail fun to eat

Yes, eat: Summertime’s the right time for jelly shots

Photo: PHOTO BY JESSICA BRYCE YOUNG, License: N/A

PHOTO BY JESSICA BRYCE YOUNG


This month’s classic cocktail belongs to a class of mixed drinks that used to be known as “flips” – that is, it’s a drink that’s shaken up with an egg. Well-known cocktails of this type include the Ramos Gin Fizz and the Pisco Sour, but this month we’re Remixing the Clover Club.

Named for the Philadelphia men’s club where it was first served, the Clover Club is another Prohibition-era drink that’s 1) all about the gin, and 2) all about hiding the terrible flavor of that period’s awful bathtub gin, in this case with lemon juice and raspberry syrup. Some bastardized recipes call for grenadine instead, but that stuff is way inferior to fresh raspberry syrup (and made from pomegranates besides; basically, it’s red and sweet, but that’s where the resemblance ends). Any bar that makes your Clover Club with grenadine is taking the kind of shortcuts that should make you steer clear – or stick to beer.

So, gin, lemon, raspberry syrup – and egg white. Sounds gross, I know, but if you do it right, a dry shake with egg white adds a silky, full (if non-vegan) richness to a cocktail. I was very pleased with my test run of the classic version, and it’s a drink I’ll make again. When it came to a Remix, it was tough to think how to improve on such a simple-but-balanced drink – but I remembered my July 2012 Remix, in which I reinterpreted the layered pousse-café as a striped jelly shot, and thought, “Hey, everyone loves a Jell-O shot in the summertime!” After all: egg whites, gelatin … we’re just swapping out one animal product for another, and making a drink that’s fun to eat in the process.

And so it happened. I guess it had to happen eventually: I finally met a drink that defeated the Remix. Oh, I don’t mean to undersell this recipe — I like it quite a bit. It’s fun and summery and looks gorgeous. But if I’m telling the absolute strictest truth … I prefer the classic this time around. There’s just something about the way that flavors transform when they’re jellied that brought out the perfumey-ness of the gin in a way I didn’t love (though one of my tasters, a gin fanatic, liked it a lot).

This raspberry syrup, on the other hand, I’ll definitely make anytime raspberries are in season. It’s like a pure distillation of summer and has endless uses – as a mixer with almost any liquor, or just in fizzy water; over ice cream, cake or yogurt. So my recommendation this month? Make a double batch of the syrup and try the drink both ways — you’re bound to like one of them.

CLASSIC

2 ounces dry gin
3/4 ounce lemon juice
3/4 ounce raspberry syrup
1 egg white
4 whole fresh raspberries

First, make the syrup. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar until sugar just dissolves, then add two cups of fresh raspberries. Simmer until the berries break down into pulp (about five minutes). Strain out the solids, pressing the berries down with a spoon to get out all the liquid. For a clear syrup with no seeds, strain again through a coffee filter. (Refrigerate before using in this cocktail, or you’ll scramble the egg white.)

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