Sunday, January 3, 2010

For Erin, a Tom and Jerry



Five pounds of sugar
Twelve eggs
One-half small glass of Jamaica rum
One-half teaspoon ground cloves
One and one-half teaspoon ground cinnamon
One-half teaspoon ground all-spice

Beat the whites of the eggs to a stiff froth, and the yolks until they are as thin as water, then mix together and add the spice and rum; thicken with sugar until the mixture attains the consistency of a light batter.

To deal out Tom and Jerry to customers:

Take a small bar glass, and to one tablespoon of the above mixture, add one wineglass of brandy, and fill the glass with boiling water; grate a little nutmeg on top.

(A teaspoon of cream of tartar, or about as much carbonate of soda as you can get on a dime, will prevent the sugar from settling to the bottom of the mixture.)

* * *

My New Year's Eve did not include a Tom and Jerry, but a good bartender always takes requests - and I had a request for the Professor's version of this drink.  Happy to oblige.

By the way, if you ever see a mug in an antique store emblazoned Tom and Jerry, it wasn't intended to advertise the cartoon cat and mouse - it was meant to hold this lovely winter drink. Try substituting bourbon for the brandy and hot milk instead of boiling water.

New Year's Eve for me did include margaritas, with the limes squeezed the night before by Harry, our host. I usually don't go in for tequila drinks, but Harry has a wonderful hand, and he casually omitted the salt on the rim (at my request) then finished it off with a dash of Grand Marnier. Inspired. The liqueur really smoothed out the drink, and I won't have another margarita without this splash.

Then we rang in the New Year when it was Midnight in Manhattan, meaning we drank and kissed at 9pm our time, allowing us to walk home under a beautiful blue moon and get the kids in bed by 10 (home being only a block away). And then we tried hard to stay up till 12.

God, we're getting old.

Our staying up was helped by a call from Athens - my Theo Niko wishing us hronia polla. It was after 8am his time and he probably hadn't hit the sheets yet. But while he's got 30 years on me, he can stay up as late as he wants and show no ill effects.

That's the magic of Greece.

More good news? The sounds of east-Oakland gunshots didn't ring across the water as they have done for the ghosts of many New Year's past. And then the neighbor's kids happily took up the pot-banging tradition handed to them by Karen and me. They weren't inclined to do the bangbang in the driveway of the neighbor who thinks I'm a jerk - THAT'S another story - but they did provide a happy clamor and clangor early on that Friday morning.  I mentioned that there was a second party, the Fondue Shindig?  These kids are from that house, so I moseyed on inside after them.  John didn't even blink, just disappeared into his kitchen and reappeared with a shot of some lovely 12-year-old scotch.  Happy New Year, indeed.

Tomorrow's Monday, which means that 10 is really here. It's started off tasty and smooth - let's keep it that way.


  1. Five pounds of sugar....and 12 eggs....I never get invite to the right parties....

  2. The next one's always just around the corner!

  3. I'll have to check the book! Pedestrian but fun, I'm thinking. Don't want to get too fancy when bowling's the centerpiece.

  4. Anything we can bring in a flask ;-)