Club Pickford: An equal-parts, rum-soaked mashup, and a destination that lives only in our glass.
"They made up their minds, and they started packing. They left before the sun came up that day, an exit to eternal summer slacking, but where were they going without ever knowing the way?"
Hello again my thirsty readers! The sun is shining, and it's another wonderful day for a cocktail. I was digging through some old classic recipes today for a project, and I found myself thinking about those days gone by, and what might happen if the glorious tales behind those cocktails somehow crossed paths. I settled upon the red-hued classics which couldn't have more contrasting beginnings, the Clover Club, and Mary Pickford. Stay with me, as we weave these two stories together.
Let's go ahead and start things off with the Clover Club cocktail. If you were sipping anything shaken or stirred at Philadelphia's Bellvue-Stratford hotel in the late 1800's, you were probably a person of some financial means, and you probably would've come in contact with the once "nearly-forgotten" Clover Club cocktail. This symphony of gin, raspberry, and citrus was all the more alluring with it's frothy egg white meringue on top. All but forgotten for the better part of a century, the Clover Club is a great representation of where cocktails where before national Prohibition nearly wiped out this type of refreshing-craftsmanship from our landscape.
Far away from the frigid winters of Philadelphia, Prohibition was causing those same well-off tipplers to seek out some liquid excitement with one of our tropical neighbors to the south, Cuba. 1920s Havana became a sort of Prohibition-era Las Vegas, with American tourists flocking for the beaches, the bars, and of course the cocktails. It seemed, the well-trained bartender either needed to learn a new craft or relocate, once the states ran dry, and Cuba was where several of the best went to set up shop. It's no surprise one of the grandest spots of the day, Havana's Hotel National, pumped out an iconic libation, named for the silent film star, Mary Pickford. It's rumored she was filming in Cuba at the time, and the drink was created for her at the hotel. Though no records have been found of Pickford filming in Havana, at the time of the cocktail's creation, the iconic drink has stayed with us over the years, wedging it's rum and pineapple personality into our cocktail books ever since.
These two drinks really got me to thinking. Maybe it's their similar color or perhaps their contrasting geographic locations, but I kept imagining a cocktail-loving Philadelphia native, who's love of drink outweighed their love of winters, moving to the roaring 20s era of Havana, to open a little club on the beach. Here, they'd serve some of the flavor of home, mixed with the local flair. Or just maybe, they really loved those Pickford films. I can picture a portrait of Mary hanging over the bar. It really makes you think, is the beach calling us all right now? It may be a hundred years in the future, but perhaps the events happening around us are still making us need an escape. What do I know anyways? I just make the drinks here.
0.75oz White Multi-Island Rum
0.75oz Pineapple Rum
0.75oz Raspberry Liqueur
0.75oz Lemon Juice
Shake and strain into chilled cocktail coupe.
Garnish with single raspberry.
1.5oz Dry Gin
0.5oz Dry Vermouth
0.5oz Raspberry Syrup
1 Egg White
Dry shake without ice.
Add ice and shake to chill.
Strain into chilled cocktail coupe.
Garnish with skewer of raspberries.
1.5oz Light Puerto Rican Rum
1 basrspoon Maraschino Liqueur
0.25oz Lime Juice (I made the addition of lime juice some years back, when I found the original to be pretty unbalanced)
1.5oz Pineapple Juice
Shake and strain into chilled coupe.
Garnish with single cherry.
They say it's import to learn history, so we don't repeat our mistakes. I've always felt that's true, but getting the knowledge into the brains of the unwilling is never an easy task. If you're also feeling frustrated with the long list of ridiculous, downright scary, happenings around the globe (especially in the less-than-supreme court), hopefully this one can take to somewhere far away. Just stay strong my friends, push for a better tomorrow, and always keep shaking.