Union Club – David Embury
1 part Orange Curacao
2 parts Lime Juice
8 parts Rye
2 dashes each Orgeat and Grenadine to each drink 1 Egg White to each 2 drinks
Shake with cracked ice.
As to be expected there are several Union Clubs in the US, there’s one that used to owned by a certain Mr Wyatt Earp of OK Corral fame in Seattle in 1899. This was a ‘colourful’ gambling den filled with new money coming in from the Klondike gold rush. Having made his way up to Seattle to cash in on this the Arizona lawman was only involved for a couple of months before packing his bags, despite the success of the venture he hardly won over local hearts and minds, mainly of his less salubrious competitors, and the local police, due to his reluctance to bribe. It seems he left mostly as it was deemed more trouble than it was worth from a legal perspective as opposed to being run out of town, western style.
The other of mention, and the one this drink is most probably named after is the Union Club of New York. This club was founded in 1836, making it one of the oldest clubs in the US, and over time has had an assortment of Presidents, Generals, Astor’s, Vanderbilt’s, Rockefeller’s and Stuyvesant’s as members. The club itself was known for opulence, and for its 1000 members had five dining rooms, a backgammon room, and a humidor holding 100000 cigars. You can just picture it can’t you.
The drink itself, imagining the clientele at both locations seems a little incongruous, I love a good sour as much as the next person, but I doubt Wyatt Earp would be caught dead drinking one, let alone Dwight Eisenhower or Ulysses Grant. It is in line with a clover club, perhaps these exclusive clubs give such powerful men a chance to drink these things without the drink fashion police casting a disapproving eye?
I wonder if Orgeat and Grenadine were more powerfully flavoured in Embury’s time, I used a bar spoon full of each and they get well and truly lost next to the Rye. Lime as a citrus seems strange as well, I think lemon may work better. The drink overall is ok, nothing special unfortunately, which is probably why it’s well and truly died out of bars, to be replaced by a more recent Union Club in 2008, decked out with Bourbon, Maraschino, Campari and orange juice.