Thirsty Writer, Libations Marketer
Published December 5, 2011 at bostoncommon-magazine.com .
Listen to me with Jordan Rich on WBZ Radio as we talk about 08 Connoisseur Corner WBZ Brandy Rand-Egg Nog and the 09 Connoisseur Corner WBZ Brandy Rand-The Tom and Jerry!
Treat yourself to a classic, creamy libation best made from scratch.
First, let’s address the whole raw egg thing – you won’t taste it outright, nor will it make you ill. It’s a common ingredient in classic cocktails as it imparts frothiness and texture that can’t be replicated any other way. Second, the dairy – do not try and substitute non-fat, rice, soy or any other stand in for full fat milk or cream. It’s just not the same. And as long as you indulge just a little, the calories are well worth it.
These days you can find egg nog in a carton at most grocery stores, or a boozy version at the liquor store. None are as good as the real thing made from scratch. Traditional egg nog is made with cream or milk, sugar, raw eggs, spices and the drinker’s choice of whiskey, brandy or rum. Its origins date back to colonial times, when settlers revisited old English milk and wine punches. While their ancestors had used madeira and sherry, colonists instead used what was on hand – rum and whiskey.
The term “egg nog” may have come about a few different ways. In Colonial America, rum was commonly called “grog”, so a call for “egg and grog” could have been shortened over time to “egg nog.”Others believe “nog” derives from “noggin” which was a small wooden mug used to serve drinks in taverns. So an order for an egg-based drink served in a noggin could have become egg nog. Or, it’s a combination of the two theories and an “egg and grog in a noggin” naturally needed shortening!
Another popular Yuletide concoction enjoying a small resurgence is the Tom & Jerry. Devotees of the Tom & Jerry so closely associate this creamy, boozy nog-like drink with Christmas it’s a surprise Santa himself isn’t credited with inventing the drink. Tradition says this drink is only served after the first snowfall and then holds court throughout the holiday season. And since Bostonians had their first flakes in October this year, it is Tom & Jerry time!
It’s origins are often mistakenly credit to Jerry Thomas, the father of mixology, in his 1862 book The Bar-Tender’s Guide: How to Mix Drinks (or The Bon-Vivant’s Companion) when in fact it was created by sports writer in 1821. Egan wrote a book titled Life in London, or The Day and Night Scenes of Jerry Hawthorn Esq. and his Elegant Friend Corinthian Tom and subsequent stage play
The Tom & Jerry was so popular from the 19th century up until the 1960s, you can still often find kitschy Tom & Jerry mugs and punch bowls at thrift stores. Impress guests this holiday with a festive nog:
1oz spiced rum
½ oz Tuaca
1 oz heavy cream
Splash simple syrup
1 whole egg
Cinnamon and nutmeg for garnish
Place all ingredients into the mixing glass. Add ice and shake hard. Strain into rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish with cinnamon and nutmeg.
Tom & Jerry
For the batter:
12 eggs, separated
1 cup white sugar (more if you prefer sweeter)
3 ounces brandy or cognac
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
For each serving:
Brandy or cognac
Aged, dark rum
Hot whole milk
For the batter: Beat the egg yolks well, then gradually whisk in the sugar. Add the rum and spices. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff and fold into the yolk mixture until well mixed. Keep batter refrigerated until serving.
For serving: For each drink, put 2 ounces of batter into a toddy mug. Add 1 ounce each of brandy and aged rum and fill with equal parts hot milk and boiling water. Top with grated nutmeg.