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The Inaugural Cocktail


Four million Americans, it is reported, plan to attend activities connected with the Obama–Biden Inaugural in Washington–roughly ten times the prior record. That’s enough to convince any sane person to stay home. So what to do?

I propose an inaugural cocktail. To me it feels like 1933 all over again (not that I was alive then, mind). Herbert Hoover, a far better man than his eventual Republican successor, was heading off to salvage something of his name (he would succeed at that, by the way). FDR was about to start the first of his four terms, and Prohibition was coming to an end.

Of that era’s cocktails my favorite was the Clover Club. It’s a vintage drink, popular enough during the Depression to earn Esquire‘s scorn. A bit sweet, a bit sour, and no need for a second. You take one part grenadine or raspberry syrup (pomegranate juice in a pinch), two parts fresh squeezed lemon juice, and half an egg white. Put them in a shaker with cracked ice and shake vigorously to a creamy froth. Add eight parts gin and a dash of apple brandy. Drink to the strains of Roosevelt’s campaign song, “Happy Days Are Here Again.”

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