Yes, this pink, frothy cocktail is perfect for a romantic Valentine’s celebration but don’t let its good looks fool you, the Clover Club is a serious drink. And one originally imbibed exclusively by men – specifically the literary, legal, and financial men who, from 1882 until the 1920’s, met once a month in Philadelphia. The drink, named after their gentlemen’s club, was published in the New York Press in 1901. It called for gin, lemon juice, sugar, raspberry syrup, and egg white. Fast forward to modern times, and it’s also the name of a gorgeous cocktail bar in our old Brooklyn neighborhood. This new Clover Club, the bar, is where we first sampled Clover Club, the drink.
We’re very fond of our herb garden. A few years ago, we built a step stand on the back deck, and this holds enough aromatic greenery to pinch for the kitchen all summer long. Having herbs so close to hand means that it’s easy to get inspiration for a food or drink recipe. Herb pots are easy to set up, don’t require any digging, and can be positioned wherever you have a sunny spot. A few years ago, in our garden-less apartment in Brooklyn, we’d sneak herb pots out onto the fire escape in defiance of the landlady. When Emily lived in an industrial loft building, the roof was always the sunniest location and where herbs thrived. The pride of our raised bed garden is always late-summer tomatoes, but there’s a hero of the herb garden that brings us delight from early summer onwards. To paraphrase T S Eliot, we can measure out our summer in basil leaves.
One thing we should mention upfront, if you haven’t gleaned it already from our occasional disorganized garden posts, is that we’re not really “lawn people”. We do have, behind the house, a stretch of grassed yard, but it’s not flat (so we can’t put tables or chairs out there), it’s kind of public (we live on a busy road with a lot of hiking traffic), it does nothing for the biodiversity of the area, and we hate mowing it. In short, it gets a little neglected. And because of that benign neglect, we have areas that sprout whatever the hell they want to, and luckily for us, in early spring, that’s violets. Lots, and lots, of tiny, pretty, violets.
So in our ongoing quest to rid our garden of weeds — by eating them — we bring you homemade Violet Syrup, possibly the prettiest concoction ever. And we’re using that syrup to create a version of the classic Aviation cocktail, which just happens to be perfect for a celebratory Mother’s Day brunch!
We’ve officially been seriously flipping busy lately. Besides our day jobs — did we mention we have day jobs? sadly this blogging lark doesn’t keep us in dog treats, cat ointment or chicken vests — we’ve been working extremely hard on a super secret Nerds with Knives-related project that we’ll tell you about in detail in a couple of months.
All of this to say that it had been so long since we’d gone out to dinner — food that somebody else plans and cooks and hands to us —that when we finally ventured out to Heritage for Matt’s birthday, we had kinda forgotten how the whole thing works. We poked and flapped the menus in front of our faces as though they were coded missives from another planet.
We sat, glassy-eyed and startled, as a waiter explained specials. When the delicious food arrived on our tables, we started discussing how we were going to photograph it before realizing that, actually, we weren’t obliged to. And then we actually were able to relax and start having a good time, and it was in no small part due to the delicious Fig and Bourbon cocktail we picked out from the drinks menu. This recipe is our loose interpretation of that cocktail, made with Valentine’s Day love. We call it “The Notorious F.I.G.”
Inspired by the sweet nectar of summer flowers, we created a cocktail in partnership with Heritage Distilling’s Brown Sugar Bourbon, which has notes of cinnamon and nutmeg, to which we added fresh thyme, lemon and elderflower liqueur. It’s tart, herbal, and beautifully smooth and luscious and very drinkable. After all, don’t we all deserve a little sweetness in our lives?
One of my favorite words of all time is the French word for grapefruit: Pamplemousse.
Say it! Pamplemousse. It’s hilarious, right? It sounds like it should be Liberace’s favorite color. “Why yes, we had the whole living room done in pamplemousse and mauve. It’s divine.”
I also love that it’s a pretty effective insult in French, meaning an annoying, pesky, person who is immature. And of course, it also means boobies. So many uses!
Of course the best use for un pamplemousse, as it is for most citrus in my opinion, is to juice that thang and mix it with some spirits. In this case vodka and elderflower liqueur.