It should go without saying that we all prefer fresh ingredients in our cocktails these days. It’s 2016 and absolutely nobody is going to come out and declare that they prefer artificially flavored sour mix to fresh lemon or lime juice. But let’s face it, sometimes it can be tricky to stick to only fresh ingredients, even for me; and I’d consider myself to be the pickiest cocktail drinker you know. As I’ve acknowledged before, a well made fruit preserve can do in a pinch when nothing is ripe in winter, yet sometimes you want to extend the ripeness of your fruit even in the middle of summer.
Raspberries are one of those ingredients that go bad pretty darn quickly. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve left a pint of freshly picked raspberries in the fridge for a day longer than I should have, only to find a mushy pile of once-fresh fruit in its place. So what I usually end up doing in the summer is whipping up a raspberry syrup that can stay fresh and bring those fresh fruit flavors to my cocktails for weeks without me having to run to the story or farmer’s market every time I want a drink.
My favorite use of raspberry syrup is in the classic Clover Club cocktail, the house drink of the Philadelphia men’s club during the late Nineteenth century. Basically a raspberry-flavored gin sour with egg whites, it’s one the the best uses of raspberry syrup out there and a most essential summer cocktail. And, pro tip, if you happen to have any raspberry syrup left over after you’re done making your drink, it’s pretty damn good poured over vanilla ice cream.
• 1½ oz. London dry gin
• ½ oz. dry vermouth
• ¾ oz. lemon
• ½ oz. raspberry syrup (recipe below)
• ½ oz. egg whites, lightly beaten
• 1 tsp. 2:1 simple syrup
Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice cubes and shake until cold. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and serve without garnish.
• 2 c. fresh raspberries
• 8 oz. water
• 1 c. granulated sugar
In a medium saucepan, simmer the raspberries in the water until the juice has leached from the fruit and the liquid is about the same deep red color as the berries themselves—about 5 to 10 minutes. Strain through a strainer, pressing on the berries and then discarding the pulp. Filter the juice through a coffee filter to clarify, if desired. While still hot, add the sugar, stirring until dissolved. Let cool, then bottle and refrigerate.
Jeffrey Morgenthaler is the bar manager at Pépé le Moko and Clyde Common, the acclaimed gastropub at the Ace Hotel in Portland, Oregon. He is also author of The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique.
ANOTHER DRINK FROM JEFFREY MORGENTHALER