Sunday, January 9, 2011

tom & jerry

2 Eggs (separated into whites and yolks)
3 oz Sugar
1/2 oz Aged Rum (Coruba)
1/10 tsp Ground Clove
1/10 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/10 tsp Ground Allspice (~3 berries)

Beat yolks until watery and then add rum and spices. Beat egg whites separately (I shook in a cobbler shaker containing a balled up Hawthorn spring) until whites are stiff. Fold yolk mixture into the whites. Thicken with sugar until the mix has the consistency of cake batter. This is enough batter for six 4 oz servings (see below) or three 8 oz servings depending on your mug size.

Pre-warm each cup with boiling water (and dump), and then add:
1 part Batter
1 part Spirit
2 part Hot Milk (hot water is okay, but less rich)
Garnish with grated nutmeg.

Two Saturdays ago, I could not wait to use my newly purchased vintage Tom & Jerry cups that I bought off of eBay. When I mentioned my acquisition, a friend asked if I were going to smash them. She responded to my confusion by sending me a link that contained the factoid that, "the practice of smashing mugs after drinking was a common ritual well into the 1950's," which made me wonder why so many mug sets exist. Actually, I am sure that many were unused presents since making the batter is slightly labor intensive; similarly, this is why most people are contented with store-bought Pasteurized egg nog instead of making their own (and apparently, commercial frozen Tom & Jerry batter does exist or at least existed).

Andrea had written about Tom & Jerry's she had around town two years ago including a Fernet one that Scott Holliday at Rendezvous made her. Moreover, plenty of other people have recently written about Tom & Jerry's in their blogs, including LUPEC Boston, Science of Drink, and Q Mix-a-Lot to name but three; however, I wanted to document my first attempt at making it at home.
There are a multitude of recipes out there that differ in the order of things such as to where and when the sugar is added. The recipe in Jerry Thomas lists an incredible 5 pounds of sugar per dozen eggs (nearly quintuple the sugar in my recipe!), but the text then states to add only enough to acquire the right consistency. One pound of sugar seemed about right (given the variety of recipes in my other books) so I scaled appropriately. To get the egg whites firm, I tried whisking them; once I got bored at my ineffectual technique, I resorted to using a balled up Hawthorn spring in a shaker. Within two minutes of vigorous shaking, I had perfectly prepared egg whites! The technique helped to generate an exquisitely light and fluffy texture to the batter and the final drink.

For our first round, I gave the quirky amaro Cynar a try; if the Cynar Flip could be so delicious, then a Cynar & Jerry could not be too far off? The drink greeted me with a steamy nutmeg aroma, and there was plenty of allspice, nutmeg, and clove flavors that accompanied the Cynar funk on the swallow. While it was good, it was a bit light on the alcohol kick and, in the end, was not as stunning as the Cynar Flip. Therefore, I moved on to round two: Smith & Cross. Using the adage "if something tastes good with rum, it will only taste better with Smith & Cross" in mind, I set my plan into action. Wow, this was the winner. Smith & Cross packs a punch both in proof and in taste and definitely made for a delightful and unique Tom & Jerry. Andrea even commented that this rum helped to bring out a salty or briny note to the flavor profile I am not sure if this is from the rum itself or from the egg mixture. Moreover, she proffered the name "Tom Smith & Jerry Cross" for the concoction. And no, we did not smash our precious little cuplets.

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