Among the few people who would track such things, Jerry Thomas is regarded as one of the founding fathers of modern bartending. He traveled around the country teaching standardized drink recipes and did plenty of work to publicize himself (including publishing multiple versions of his cocktail handbook, a reprint of which is a staple in my bartending library.)
From what I’ve read, Thomas had two showcase drinks. One, the Blue Blazer, was a showy version of a Scotch hot toddy that we’ll cover some other day. (In the meantime, here’s a video.) The other was today’s recipe, an eggnog-like concoction that could stand in for the classic cocktail during your holiday parties — if you party with a cocktailing crowd. The Tom and Jerry uses an egg-based batter, flavored with holiday spices and dark rum, as a mixer in place of egg and cream, along with a measure of hot water that makes this more of a grog than a nog. You can feel free to prepare the egg batter a couple of hours before service at your party, as long as you use the baking soda to stabilize the mixture.
If you really want to impress your party guests, there are custom-made mugs printed with “Tom and Jerry” that used to be used for this drink — plenty are still floating around.
- 12 fresh eggs
- 2 oz. dark rum
- 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ tsp ground allspice
- Sufficient white sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- Boiling water
- Separate eggs. Beat egg whites with a whisk until stiff; beat yolks until watery.
- Mix yolks and whites, and add spices and rum. Stir thoroughly, and thicken with sugar until mixture has consistency of light butter.
- Add ½ tsp baking soda to prevent sugar from settling.
- Mix 2 oz. brandy with 1 tbsp of batter in a small wine-glass; fill with boiling water and serve with spoon and grated nutmeg.
- If desired, use equal parts brandy and mixed dark and spiced rum.