My brother-in-law is a bartender at a great place in Chicago called Sable. It’s an amazing bar specializing in classic cocktails. You will not find an Appletini anywhere on the premises, but if you’re looking for an excellent whiskey you won’t be disappointed. In my humble opinion, however, the best way to experience Sable, is to ask for John Stanton to make you something special. His drink recipes are second to none, and I’m not just saying that because he’s my brother-in-law. If ever I need to impress anyone with an amazing drink, John is the guy to talk to.
Recently he emailed my husband a recipe for Tom & Jerry’s batter. Well, it was more like a story than a recipe, and way more entertaining than a recipe typically is. If every recipe were written this way I think people would enjoy cooking a lot more. He has so graciously allowed me to republish his Tom & Jerry’s story here for your enjoyment. If you like it, visit Sable, ask for John, and tell him you’re a huge NY Jets fan.
Tom & Jerry’s Batter, recipe by John Stanton
Aight! So we’re making Tom and Jerry mix! A little background! Exclamation!
A Tom and Jerry is a noggish, warm, Christmas-y cocktail usually made with brandy and rum. It was invented by an interesting character: a British journalist , Pierce Egan, who wrote a book called Life in London, or The Day and Night Scenes of Jerry Hawthorn Esq. and his Elegant Friend Corinthian Tom, from which the drink takes its (thankfully pared down) name. Some say he created the drink to publicize the book, which was also adapted into a play, and that the original recipe was essentially just eggnog with a shot of brandy added along with the rum. The history of the drink gets a bit foggy – some say it was originated in New England, but Egan never lived there, to the best of my knowledge; he was a Londoner from first light to final dark (1772-1849). He was a sports writer, a braggart, and a slang aficionado. He is credited for this drink that, strangely, is pretty much exclusively enjoyed now in the Midwest – most notably Wisconsin and Minnesota – one hundred and eighty years after its conception. A drink I will now attempt to tell you how to make:
Vague Notion of Ingredients:
Some Sugar (more than is healthy)
at least 1/2 tsp of allspice
at least 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
at least 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
An assortment of liquor: brandy, whiskey, rum?
Butter? (surely not)
Freshly grated nutmeg
Yield: like, 5 or 6, maybe?
I should mention that this, my own recipe, is a cobbled together fromna host of recipe’s I’ve encountered, and should probably be considered more of an interpretation. With that in mind, feel free to interpret this in your own way: add, subtract, use lasers, whatever. Oh, and in honor to our still-kickin’ grandma, my measurements will be irritatingly inexact. As you know, her most common response to “How much?” is “Enough.”
Separate the eggs from the yolks. Whip the yolks until they’re, well, thoroughly whipped, and slowly add your allspice, cinnamon and cloves (I’ve also used apple pie spice, occasionally, to great success). Most recipes don’t call for it but I usually add a little booze – 3/4oz Brandy, 3/4 oz dark rum – to the yolks, but you don’t have to. Some recipe call for a few drops of vanilla extract – go sparingly if you decide to go at all. Some call for a stick of butter. That’s nuts. Let me know how it turns out. Add sugar. How much? I’ve read recipes that call for 3 tablespoons for 3 eggs. I’ve read some that call for a whole pound for 12 eggs. The first notion is ludicrous. I’d recommend using… enough. Which is going to be more than you think, probably. Should you use powdered sugar? Some recipes call for it. Table sugar? I do. Brown Sugar? Sounds good to me. Some kind of hut-made sugar made from a rare species of cane you brought from your recent visit to Haiti? Good luck with that. Except WTF, dude! You didn’t tell me you were just in Haiti! Why don’t we talk anymore?
Whip the whites, in a separate bowl, until stiff peaks form, and then slowly fold in your yolk concoction. When done, give it a taste, and add seasoning/sugar as necessary. The following piece of advice will apply to the booze, as well, but remember that as with hair cuts, you can always take more off, but once it’s gone you can’t put it back. Wait. So reverse that. You can always add more stuff, but once it’s in, it’s in.
So now you have your batter. You’re almost there. Grab mugs. Steam or otherwise heat some milk. Put enough (1 to 2… to 3 tablespoons) batter in the bottom. Slowly stir in some liquor – and I mean it. Go slow. You don’t want the batter to curdle. If you’ve added booze to the batter, add another 1.5 ounces to the mug. If you haven’t, use 2 oz. Most recipes call for equal parts brandy and rum, but I like bourbon, too, so I do a little of all three.
Next, stir in your hot milk. If you’re like me, and you think that might end up a bit too rich, add some hot water as well, to thin it out a bit. Wanna get decadent? Float an additional tablespoon of batter on top, before you dust it with nutmeg. Will these drinks be healthy? Oh, god no. But they will, my friend, be delicious.
Your idiot, Jets loving, drunkard-savant brother,
We do love you, John! We have made this twice now and it is truly delicious. It does take time to make and, compared to other drinks, is a bit putzy, but there is something to be said for working for your drink. You enjoy it more because you made it, crafted it, instead of just pouring it out of a bottle. The thing I love most about baking is the result, the happiness it brings to those who partake, and so it goes with this drink. The effort is well worth it, especially to see the smiles and awe of your guests who never expected a recipe involving eggs could be so good.
For those who appreciate a slightly more precise recipe to follow, here is our interpretation of this fantastic recipe.
Tom & Jerry’s Batter
Adapted from the recipe by John Stanton
- 3 eggs, separated
- 3/4 oz brandy
- 3/4 oz dark rum
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 Tbsp butter, melted
- 1/2 C granulated sugar
- About 3 3/4 C milk, divided
- 4.5 oz brandy, divided
- 4.5 oz dark rum, divided
- Whip the yolks thoroughly, then slowly stir in allspice, cinnamon and cloves, followed by 3/4 oz each of brandy and rum, then sugar, then melted butter. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, whip the whites until stiff peaks form, and then slowly fold in yolk mixture.
To make the drink, in each mug:
- Add 3 Tbsp batter into the mug. SLOWLY stir 3/4 oz each of brandy and dark rum into the mug.
- Steam or heat the milk in a saucepan.
- Stir the hot milk into the batter/liquor mixture in the mug. You can also add a bit of hot water to thin it out if you’d like.
- To finish it off, put a dollop of the batter on top and dust with nutmeg.
We’ve found that the batter keeps ok for about 24 hours in the fridge, but it does separate and gets a little weird. I’d recommend drinking it all fresh when you make it.
And remember, everyone: Drink responsibly.