We’re thrilled this week to be able to present an extract fr om a new book by Tristan Stephenson, otherwise known as The Curious Bartender.
Tristan is a bright star in the bartending world. He has worked with Jamie Oliver and as a brand ambassador, training bartenders at The Ritz, among other top hotels. In 2009 he set up a consultancy company for the drinks industry, Fluid Movement. From there he went on to open critically acclaimed London bars, The Worship Street Whistling Shop, Purl and Black Rock, a whisky bar in Shoreditch.
His latest tome, The Curious Bartender’s Gin Palace, provides a fantastic overview of gin history and some of the world’s finest gins (including Herno) along with some cracking cocktail recipes, of which this is just one example.
Check out this video of Tristan making the cocktail, then read his fascinating exploration of this classic Cocktail's history - before giving it a go yourself!
The following extract is from The Curious Bartender’s Gin Palace by Tristan Stephenson is published by Ryland Peters & Small, £16.99. You can buy it on Amazon here.
Part gin sour, part Martini, part raspberry liqueur, the Clover Club is fruity, dry, delicate and fiendishly addictive. I think it has something for everyone and, had it been given a chance, it could quite possibly have single-handedly saved the 1980s from the depths of drinking depravity.
The cocktail was named for and enjoyed by the eponymous Philadelphia-based lawyers’ and writers’ club founded in 1882. Like many other gentleman’s clubs of the time, a signature drink was an essential component of congenial gatherings. The Clover Club drink dates to 1896, as seen in the 1897 book, The Clover Club of Philadelphia.
When I first became a bartender, the Clover Club was still dragging itself out of 70 years’ worth of obscurity. We used to make them with gin, grenadine, lemon and egg white. It was basically a pink gin sour, and even though it tasted nice enough, it wasn’t going to be winning any awards for innovation. The earliest recipe in fact calls for raspberry syrup, not grenadine, and also a splash of vermouth. Slowly, we bartenders began to embrace the classic version, and like the unfurling of pink petals the beauty and balance of the true Clover Club blossomed.
And for me it’s the addition of a splash a vermouth that really sets the Clover Club apart, where aromatics of thyme and the bitterness of wormwood intercept the raspberry before it becomes overly fruity. That said, the raspberry syrup is probably the most important ingredient. As is often the way with off the shelf syrups, most taste more like the devil’s confectionery than the carefully concentrated essence of a piece of fresh fruit. Fortunately, raspberry syrup is super-simple to make at home, so I’ve included the only recipe you’ll ever need above. It’s a game changer as far as the Clover Club is concerned.
FOR THE RASPBERRY SYRUP
250g Fresh raspberries
250g Caster Sugar
Toss the raspberries in the salt and sugar then place in a 1-litre (35-fl. oz.) mason jar (you can also use a zip-lock bag) and pop it in the fridge overnight. In the morning add the water to the jar. Using a temperature probe, bring a saucepan of water up to 50°C (122°F) and turn the temperature right down so that it holds there. Pop the mason jar in the water and leave it for 2 hours, giving it the occasional wiggle. When the 2 hours are up, carefully remove the jar then strain the contents through a sieve. You may need to strain a second time using muslin. To prolong the lifespan of your syrup it’s often useful to add a splash of gin or vodka. Store in the fridge for up to 1 month.
40ml Gin (any gin with a spicy kick)
15ml Lemon Juice
15ml Rsapberry syrup
15ml Martini Extra Dry Vermouth
15g Egg white
Shake all the ingredients with ice then strain into a separate mixing glass or shaker and shake again with no ice. This ‘dry shake’ has the effect of whipping air into the cocktail. Strain into a chilled coupe glass and drink it quickly. You can leave the egg white out if you prefer, but it adds a lovely sherbet effect to the palate.