Tom & Jerry Cocktail

Tom and Jerry.*
1 Egg.
1/2 Glass Jamaica Rum. (1/2 oz Smith & Cross Jamaican Rum)
1 Tablespoonful Powdered Sugar. (Heaping Teaspoon Caster Sugar)
1/2 Glass Brandy. (1 1/2 oz Pellahaut Armaganac Reserve)
Beat up yolk and white of egg separately. Then mix the yolk, and white together. Use stem glass or china mug, adding the spirits, then fill with boiling water, grating nutmeg on top.

*The Tom and Jerry was invented by Professor Jerry Thomas — rise please — over seventy years ago, in the days when New York was the scene of the soundest drinking on earth. The Tom and Jerry and the Blue Blazer — the latter a powerful concoction of burning whisky and boiling water– were the greatest cold weather beverages of that era.

Well, from reading David Wondrich’s fine book, “Imbibe!: From Absinthe Cocktail to Whiskey Smash, a Salute in Stories and Drinks to “Professor” Jerry Thomas, Pioneer of the American Bar,” we know that Jerry Thomas probably did not invent this drink. It really isn’t anything more than a hot flip, a pretty darn common drink, though flips were more likely made with Ale or Fortified Wine in the early days of our country.

For some reason this cocktail is one which, like Egg Nog, provokes a pretty strong response when you mention it to people. I’m not really exactly sure why, as it is nothing more than boozy custard in a glass, something I am totally down with. Heck, the eggs are even cooked. I guess, like Egg Nog, it probably has to do with people’s bad experiences with Tom & Jerry made from pre-packaged, over sweet, “batters”.

I got some flack from friends, when I mentioned I was making a Tom and Jerry in August. Suffering through horrible hot summers on the East Coast or in the Midwest, they were like, “Are you crazy?” Let me assure you, Tom & Jerrys are perfectly appropriate drinks for the fog shrouded, misty, cold nights that pass for “summer” here in San Francisco. It wasn’t for naught that Mark Twain was (incorrectly) attributed with the following quote, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”

As far as method goes, this worked pretty well for a bar friendly method the other night: Add the egg, booze, and sugar to a mixing tin with the spring from a hawthorne strainer. “Dry Shake” vigorously for 10 seconds. Break the seal. Remove the spring. ┬áInto the tin without the eggs, add about an ounce of hot water from the hot water tower. Pour the hot water into the whipped eggs, then quickly back and forth between the tins several times. Pour into a glass, and top with freshly grated nutmeg.

Instant Tom & Jerry, and boy, the Smith & Cross and Armagnac combination is freaking delicious.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

3 thoughts on “Tom & Jerry Cocktail

    • When I made it at home, I turned the water off just as it was heading towards boil. Not sure how hot the water is coming off of the hot water tower or espresso machine at either job. Not boiling, but pretty hot, 180F would be my guess.

  1. That looks delicious, and I’m one of those who has an aversion to egg nog, probably, as you say, from bad experience with the stuff that comes in a carton.

    Also, as a fellow SF resident, I will vouch for the fact that you can drink hot drinks pretty much year-round here. In some parts of the city August is probably the third coldest month!

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