8 Classic Club Drinks

Cocktails for Members Only

  • 8 Drink
  • Updated: Aug 4, 2016

Inspired by Dr. Dave Wondrich and Jeff "Beachbum" Berry's Tales of the Cocktail talk, "Members Only: Club Cocktails in History," this collection recounts some of the most legendary drinks from private clubs and secret societies throughout the ages. Some of the recipes are taken directly from primary sources, while others have been reconstructed (or simply made-up wholesale) based on ingredients that would have been available and popular in their respective times and places.

From the spicy Hell-Fire Punch (named for the infamous Satanic society of 18th-century Britain) to the soothing hangover cure that is the Suffering Bastard (the drink that, to some extent, won the Second Battle of El Alamein in WWII), these are cocktails that have some serious history behind them. And even if none of us would've been allowed into the clubs they came from, we can certainly enjoy them today as those old snobs turn over in their graves.

  • Gin, Cognac, Ginger Beer, Rose's Lime Juice, Angostura Bitters
    The Suffering Bastard is a cocktail developed by legendary barkeep Joe Scialom—best known for his time as head bartender at Shepheard's Long Bar in Cairo—as a hangover cure for those particularly bad mornings after. The drink was made famous by its (potentially apocryphal) role in the Second Battle of El Alamein in World War Two. The story goes that, the mor…
  • Gin, Raspberry Syrup, Lemon Juice, Egg White
    One of the truly definitive drinks of the early 20th century, the Clover Club is one of the most famous cocktails to use egg white. The backbone of gin, the freshness of lemon juice, and the beauty of homemade raspberry syrup combine with the egg white to produce a frothy, deeply colored drink that continues to impress over 100 years after it's inception.Th…
  • Gin, Dry Curaçao, lime juice, Angostura bitters, orange bitters
    Named for the famous Pegu Club in Burma, the Pegu Club cocktail is a classic of the colonial era. The Pegu Club was a haven for British colonists who, thanks to a healthy dose of racism and general snobbery, didn't want to interact with the locals when they were socializing.Membership was limited to those who were unanimously approved by the existing members…
  • Cognac, Jamaican Rum, Cherry Brandy, lemon juice, milk, cayenne pepper, Demerara sugar, nutmeg
    Named for the infamous Hellfire Club of 18th-century England, this complex punch packs some heat. The recipe is a speculative recreation devised by renowned cocktail historian David Wondrich, using ingredients that would have been available at the time (based partially on Benjamin Franklin's description of the drink as a "divine milk punch")—that said, there…
  • White Rum, Curaçao, Lime Juice
    Taken from the Stork Club Bar Book, the Ann Sheridan cocktail is named for the famous mid-20th century actress. It's mostly just a Daiquiri variation, but it also resembles the classic Daisy (the drink that birthed the Margarita) with its use of curaçao. According to Jeff "Beachbum" Berry, an even better rendition can be made with two ounces of rum, one ounc…
  • Gin, Sweet Vermouth, Bitters
    From the eponymous Turf Club in Manhattan, circa 1884, this cocktail is an early predecessor of the Martini. Originally made with equal parts Old Tom gin and sweet vermouth, the Turf Club also works well with juniper-heavy gins.
  • Gin, Cognac, Rum, Bourbon, Ginger Beer, Lime Cordial, Angostura Bitters
    The Dead Bastard is a variation on Joe Scialom's famous hangover cure, the Suffering Bastard, devised after he was exiled from Egypt and Cuba and wound up in New York. It's a bit more powerful (and complex) than the original, for those mornings when you need more than a little hair of the dog.
  • Peach Brandy, Apricot Brandy, Dry Curaçao, Lime Juice
    Named for the Stork Club's Cub Room where it was invented (a famous Manhattan haunt of Orson Welles, among other celebrities), the Cub Room cocktail is small by design—in part, the club was a bit stingy, but the owners also weren't particularly keen on having a bunch of drunks running around and making a scene. According to Jeff "Beachbum" Berry, "This …

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