This holiday season, while most people relaxed and enjoyed themselves, I was hard at work perfecting what will years from now be looked back on as the perfect Christmas drink repertoire. The way I see it, every self-respecting drinker needs five go-to libations to get them through the five drinking stages of Christmas: (1) pre-Christmas; (2) Christmas Eve Dinner; (3) Christmas Eve After-Dinner; (4) Christmas Morning; (5) Christmas After-Dinner. Serve a little wine with Christmas dinner and this collection of seasonal drinks will guide you smoothly through next year’s “most wonderful time of the year.” I’ve already discussed the perfect pre-Christmas drink, Rye Egg Nog, and the Christmas Eve Pomegranate Bourbon Cocktail, so let’s turn to a warm classic cocktail that is perfect for any winter evening, holiday or otherwise . . .
Stage 3: Christmas Eve After-Dinner – Tom & Jerry
I first learned about the Tom & Jerry while following Caskstrength’s Cocktail Advent Calendar. There he describes the drink as an egg nog spin-off, whose preparation is more akin to baking than bartending. The recipe dates back to the 1820’s, so this one certainly qualifies as a classic cocktail.
Tom & Jerry (via Chow)
3 eggs, seperated
3 Tbsp powdered sugar
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
4 oz brandy, lukewarm
4 oz dark rum, lukewarm
Ground nutmeg for garnish
(1) In a large, clean bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. (2) In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks until light in color; gradually beat in the sugar, allspice, cinnamon, and cloves. Fold the yolk mixture into the whites. (3) Pour 2 tablespoons into four mugs each. Add 1 ounce brandy and 1 ounce dark rum to each mug. (4) Fill with hot milk. Stir well, and dust with nutmeg.
I should note that although the recipe makes four drinks, the batter will make about double that amount. The key to perfecting this drink is the mixing – the fluffier the eggs the better. I used my wife’s KitchenAid mixer and a good deal of patience to get the egg whites to form nice stiff peaks. I almost can’t imagine making this drink without some sort of mechanical mixer, unless you have a bionic arm (kudos to you).
As far as taste, this one is as advertised – a warm boozy egg nog, with just the right amount of spice. For me, allspice and nutmeg are inextricably linked to the holidays, and they taste just right here. More importantly, there is a real sense of tradition when you are sipping on something people have shared over the holidays for almost 200 years. Whip up your own batter and give this classic winter tipple a try.
Coming soon – Christmas Morning – Bourbon Pecan Milk Punch