Today brings a little break from smelling and is instead about tasting.
My city has a holiday tradition that involves drinking. I know, I know, this sounds divine, and truly, it is. I mean… how can you not love required imbibing?
Because I like to shroud my location in mystery, I shall name neither city nor establishment, but local readers will know exactly what I’m talking about. There’s a local Place that makes up batches of Tom & Jerrys around the holidays, and I’ve heard you have to turn in your residency card if you don’t go for at least one. This may or may not be true. Regardless, this Place is absolutely packed for all of December because of the Tom & Jerry tradition.
Now, because I’m not from these parts, I had no idea what a Tom & Jerry was my first year. I’ve heard of Hot Toddies, Hot Buttered Rum, Mulled Wine… you know, the usual winter beverages. But Tom & Jerry? My only reference was the cartoon in which a cat and mouse pummeled the crap out of each other.
And since I understand that not everyone reading knows what they are either, I bring you the recipe, according to Esquire:
TOM & JERRY
1 cup sugar
1 bottle brandy
Pinch of ground allspice
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
1 bottle dark rum
Glass Type: mug
Separate the eggs. Beat the whites until they form a stiff froth, and the yolks — to which you have added the sugar — “until they are as thin as water,” as the professor advises, gradually adding 4 ounces brandy (spiceaholics will also add a pinch each of ground allspice, cinnamon, and cloves). Fold the whites into the yolks. When ready to serve, give it another stir and then put 1 tablespoon of this batter in a small mug or tumbler. Now add 1 ounce brandy (although some die-hard Dixiecrats prefer bourbon) and 1 ounce Jamaican rum, stirring constantly to avoid curdling. Fill to the top with hot milk and stir until you get foam. Sprinkle a little grated nutmeg on top. This one may require practice and a certain amount of fiddling, but it’s well worth the effort. Note: Some people find the milk too rich and filling, so they use half hot milk, half boiling water.
I have no idea if that’s the same as what’s served ’round here, but my god! That seems like a lot of work! I’m more about cocktails that involve putting something in something else and being done with it.
So, I went to said establishment last night for a holiday mug of cheer. Tom & Jerrys are quite sweet and rich, so really one is more than enough. I had the misfortune of learning that the most one person has ever consumed in one visit is eleven. ELEVEN. I’m sick just thinking about that.
The key to the T&J kitsch is, of course, the mug in which it’s served. They should be throw-backs and read “TOM AND JERRY” on them in some old timey font. The froth should be viscous and stick to the rim (and your fingers, because it seems to get everywhere.)
Enjoy! And please do remember that I never once said Tom & Jerrys are good. The name makes sense if you link it to the cartoon: you will feel like someone smacked you with a frying pan. Happy holidays!