For most of us, the phrase "Tom & Jerry" conjures two crazy cartoon characters, a cat and mouse who tortured each other in every fiendish way possible. But our grandparents probably remember Tom & Jerry as a frothy, warming alcoholic beverage similar to eggnog.
Although the drink was hugely popular around Christmastime in the 19th and early 20th Century, its popularity began to wane in the 40s. But because mixologists like to dust off old things and make them new again, the Tom & Jerry is making a comeback. And if you want to give one a whirl, you can do that this winter (like, now) at the bar at J&G Steakhouse.
If you grew up in Minnesota or Wisconsin, where the Tom & Jerry is still popular, then you probably already know that the drink is usually made with rum, brandy, beaten egg whites, egg yolks beaten with sugar, nutmeg and steamed milk (although some recipes call for boiling water).
Of course, not every Tom and Jerry-lover in Minnesota or Wisconsin wants to turn a cocktail into a major project, so they simply buy ready-made Tom & Jerry batter, just as we do with eggnog.
With the help of Chef de Cuisine Jacques Qualin, mixologist Julie Hillebrand has created a batter recipe, which she puts in an ISI Charger -- a canister containing CO2, which aerates the batter and makes it super-frothy. The charger allows her to make a Tom & Jerry a la minute rather than having it sit around getting slushy.
Her version contains Cardenal Mendoza (a Spanish brandy), dark rum (more flavor) and brown sugar (ditto). The drink sells for $13, and it is luscious.
Because it's not on the menu, you'll want to call ahead for it: 480-214-8000.
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And just so you know, the Tom & Jerry was invented in the 1820's by Pierce Egan, a British sports writer who wrote a wildly popular monthly series called Life in London, featuring two characters -- one highborn, one low -- named Tom and Jerry. Egan later wrote a play around the series and invented the Tom & Jerry cocktail to promote his production. It caught on in England and migrated across the pond.