Winter time is hot milk punch time. Wait, what? Some people have a hard enough time wrapping their minds around any kind of hot punch. We’re just not used to it. So hot milk punch is just triply weird. But it wasn’t always this way. Milk punch used to be pretty popular, back in, you know, the 1700s and 1800s. It has survived till today, to varying degrees of authenticity, as Egg Nog. Hot milk punch has survived too, at least in the Midwest, as the traditional Tom and Jerry cocktail. I found a recipe in the most recent issue of Imbibe Magazine and decided to give it a try. – Andrew
Illustration by Shauna Lynn for Oh So Beautiful Paper
The Tom and Jerry
1 oz Brandy or Bourbon
1 oz Aged Rum
2 oz Batter*
4 oz Hot Milk
Preheat a mug or glass by rinsing it with boiling water. Add all of the ingredients and whisk to combine. Garnish with freshly-grated nutmeg and cinnamon and enjoy!
* The Batter:
1 Cup Sugar
6 Eggs, Separated
Ground Cinnamon, Cloves, Allspice, and Nutmeg to Taste
Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar, then add the spices. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the egg yolks, then refrigerate (for up to a week).
The Tom and Jerry dates back to the 1820s, but really only survives today in places like Minnesota and Wisconsin. It does involve a fair amount of work – I highly recommend using an electric mixer and not trying to whisk those egg whites by hand – but it’s also pretty tasty, rich, creamy, and warming. It’s really fantastic for cold weather.
And that batter. A lot of work goes into making it, and it’s hard to imagine making a single serving of the stuff. So most recipes, like this one, call for putting together big batches. Which means that this makes for a great holiday drink –you’re going to need some friends to help you put away all that batter and the resulting drinks.
Two suggestions. First, you can make it even richer creamier by frothing the milk first. If you don’t have a steamer, you can always shake the milk and then microwave it, which will preserve some of the foam. Second, milk drinks always start out feeling a bit rough to me; there’s a harshness to them on the first sip. So let this one sit for a minute or two after mixing to let the flavors blend. Not so long that it loses its heat, but enough time to lose that rough edge.
PS – Don’t forget to look for more recipes, techniques, and vintage glassware finds on my Instagram account, @liquorary. This week, we’ve been playing around with persimmons.
Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper