Saturday, December 15, 2012

Exhibit #126: 4th Annual Tom & Jerry

Tom & Jerry $7
Camus VS cognac, Smith & Cross and Mt. Gay Eclipse rums, T&J batter, hot milk, grated nutmeg.

Top Shelf T&J $9
As above but with Martell VSOP, Zacapa 23, and Smith & Cross.

"Life in London or, the Day and Night Scenes of Jerry Hawthorn, esq., and his elegant friend, Corinthian Tom, accompanied by Bob Logic, the Oxonian, in their Rambles and Sprees through the Metropolis" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue the same way as "Twilght" or "Harry Potter," but was a phenomenon of that stature in the early 1820s. The author, Pierce Egan, was a sporting man (drinking, horses, boxing) and his book detailed the adventures of that life dosed with up to the minute slang. In America, the story was presented on stage for several years as "Tom and Jerry, or Life in London" and the very phrase Tom & Jerry quickly took root as a catch-all term for any sort of mischief, especially the alcohol-fueled sort. And then there's the drink itself, created by Egan to promote his franchise. Americans cottoned to "the preparation" straight away, with both the drink and the phrase living on long after Egan's book and several stage adaptations were forgotten. The names given to that cartoon cat and mouse we all know ... not an accident!

Tom and Jerry remained a popular cold-weather drink throughout most of the 19th century, but began to atrophy over time into a holiday drink. At this point it is mostly unknown outside the upper midwest, where the batter is still sold in groceries during the holidays. This "dope," as it is known in northern Michigan and Wisconsin bars, is a mixture of eggs, separated, beaten, then recombined with sugar, cinnamon, allspice, cloves and a little rum. A tablespoon of the resulting batter is added to an ounce each cognac and rum, hot milk and grated nutmeg to make the final drink.

Next week: Wassail and Christmas Bowl of Bishop

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