Named for the Philadelphia men's club of the same name, which met in the Bellevue-Stratford hotel. The drink dates back to 1896 at The Clover Club of Philadelphia where it was said to have been invented by teenaged bartender Ambrose Burnside Lincoln Hoffman. According to the Waldorf Astoria Bar Book, the drink became a staple of East Coast bars and hotels. The Clover Club was seen in this era as one of the all-time classics, right up there with the Manhattan and Old Fashioned. It was very popular during Prohibition, featured in, among other places, the Cotton Club.
Preparation Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with no ice. Shake for about a minute, to emulsify the egg white. Keep a tight grip on the top of the shaker; the shaking of the egg white builds up a lot of pressure in the shaker, and the mixture will want to spill out. Your Clover Club should look rather frothy. Then you can add ice and shake it again. Strain your cocktail into a chilled long-stemmed cocktail glass. Crosby Gaige, who listed it in his 1941 Cocktail Guide as one of the Hall of Fame drinks, added: “Garnish with a four-leaf clover.” Float a mint sprig on top, and you now have a Clover Leaf.
Cultural context As rapidly as the Clover Club rose to the heights of fashion, so it also came tumbling down after Prohibition ended. In 1934, Esquire magazine cited it as one of the worst drinks of the Dry years. But the drink hung on, and by 1941 had made enough of a comeback to be listed in the Hall of Fame section in Crosby Gaige’s 1941 Cocktail Guide as one of a certain select group of cocktails that have won and kept a vast clientele, and through “some accidental adumbrations of aroma and flavor, these famous favorites have pleased the public palate, and so flow daily down millions of warmly devoted gullets.” Also in the 1928 collection of celebrity recipes, Bottoms Up, it is picked by comic actor W.C. Fields as his favorite cocktail.