By Cat, Dec 30, 2018; photo, right, from ebay (3)
During the 1950s and early 1960s, my parents owned Al’s Bar in downtown Bigfork, Montana. There were three bars in our tiny village, and at Christmas, all served a popular beverage to celebrate the Christmas holiday: Tom and Jerry. But each bar’s recipe was a bit different. Ours was the only bar that used a traditional serving set that included a beautiful big white glass bowl and matching mugs that said “Tom and Jerry” in Christmas-red color on the sides (similar to those in the photo, right).
Each customer got his/her first mug-full for free each year. Dad was quite proud of the liquor mix recipe he created, and Mom was equally proud of her batter that she had to mix up several times each day throughout the month of December. And I got to lick the beaters.
For an interesting video about a bar in Great Falls Montana that still serves Tom and Jerrys, check out KBZK’s video (1).
Tom and Jerry Recipe
Photo, left, from Wikimedia Commons
I should note that we got our eggs from a local farmer who allowed his hens free range on his property so that their yolks were a beautiful orange-yellow color. His wife did a great job of washing the eggs before putting them into cartons, so we didn’t have to worry about contamination when consuming the raw, beaten eggs in this sweet beverage.
The beaten eggs were mixed with a liquor mix and hot water when served to adult customers; but when served to children like me, the liquor was replaced with root beer.
The batter uses what was known as “bar sugar,” which was a superfine white cane sugar that was also used for making “simple syrup” for various cocktails. Many newer recipes use powdered sugar, but I don’t think it makes the same great texture as bar sugar. A better substitute would be superfine white cane sugar.
Some modern recipes call for vanilla extract. If you want that vanilla flavor, instead cut 1 – 2 vanilla beans in half lengthwise. Transfer the box of sugar to a large jar; immerse vanilla beans in the sugar and screw on jar’s lid tightly. Let rest for 1 – 2 weeks before using for this batter. See Alton Brown’s recipe (2) for more information.
This was my Dad’s liquor recipe, and Mom’s batter recipe (but I don’t know her source).
CAUTION: Use only eggs from locally raised, free-range hens, and ensure the shells have been washed well, as you will be using these eggs raw. You don’t want to get salmonella infection during the holidays!
Prepare in 5th-size bottle as follows:
- Fill 1/3-full with brandy;
- Fill balance (less 1-ounce shot) with mixture of half Bacardi Light and half 151-Proof Demerara Rum;
- Add 1 shot Port wine;
- Allow to sit in cool place.
Ingredients & Equipment:
- 6 clean, raw eggs, separated;
- 1-pound bar sugar, divided (superfine granulated cane sugar; not powdered sugar)
- 1 ⅛ tsp cream of tartar, divided
- medium and large mixing bowls
- electric mixer fitted with beater; or stand mixer fitted with egg whip.
- rubber or silicon spatula
Method for batter
- For Egg White Mix:
- To egg whites in large bowl, add 1 tsp cream of tartar; beat until so stiff that as you beat the mix, the center of the bowl clears and the whites are quite dry.
- Add ¾ pound of the bar sugar very slowly, about 1 tsp at a time while beater is running.
- As long as you beat the whites before beating the yolks, you don’t need to clean the beater/whip after beating the whites.
- For Egg Yolk Mix:
- To yolks in medium bowl, add ⅛ tsp cream of tartar and beat until thick and lemon colored.
- Add remaining ¼ pound bar sugar slowly, as you did for the whites, while beater is running
- Finish Batter:
- Fold yolks into whites carefully, using rubber (or silicone) spatula.
- Store in fridge. It will keep thick for several days if refrigerated.
- Put 1 Tbsp mixture in cup (like a coffee mug);
- Add a shot or less of liquor.;
- Fill cup with hot (but not boiling) filtered water.
- Do not stir.
- Sprinkle with nutmeg (or other desired spice), and insert a swizzle stick.