What Is The Original 1860s Tom & Jerry Batter Recipe by Jerry Thomas?
This is the Original 1860s Jerry Thomas recipe for the Tom and Jerry from his 1862 Edition of The Bartenders Guide.
- 12 Eggs
- 8 cups (2 kg) of sugar
- 2 oz (60 mLs) gold rum
- 1 tsp (5 g) ground cloves
- 1 tsp (5 g) ground allspice
- 1 tsp (5 g) ground cinnamon
Separate the egg whites and yolks. Add the spices and sugar to the egg whites and beat the whites to a stiff meringue. Beat the egg yolks to thin them out and then mix them with the meringue.
What Is The Difference Between The Original Recipe, Modern Recipes, And This Improved 1860s Recipe?
Modern recipes are quite fattier than the original, and I can see why. Fats like butter prevent the egg proteins from linking together when heated, but butter also completely changes the drink’s flavor. I did quite a few experiments, and the issue with this recipe is you can not use hot water or hot milk because it will cook the egg whites and make the drink lumpy—only warm waterwork. Every recipe you find online that is not fatty does not use hot water but just warm water or milk. This is a common issue for desserts like flan and soufflé and thus why they are cooked in water baths to prevent them from getting too hot. The trick to maintaining the flavor of the original Tom and Jerry and making it, so the drink does not get lumpy when hot water is added is to make this like a custard. Adding a small amount of thickened cornstarch will not change the drink’s flavor or texture and prevent the egg proteins from binding into poached eggs.
The more modern butter or heavy cream-filled tom and jerry recipes are good, but they are a bit too thick. Too close to egg nog, in my opinion. I like the original recipe because it’s flavorful and very drinkable. Not too thin and not too thick, but it doesn’t heat well. Anytime a Tom and Jerry recipe calls for hot water or milk; they mean “lightly heated.” This makes for a lukewarm drink that feels like it was forgotten on the counter. By simply adding a cornstarch slurry, this improved version is both true to the original flavor and texture while also being able to be heated like a proper hot drink. (I also reduced the sugar, as it was too sweet). It all comes down to personal preference, and the best way to find out is to make each one and try them.
Should You Buy Tom & Jerry Batter Or Make It?
A jar or bucket of Tom & Jerry batter is oddly expensive, considering these are ingredients you probably have in your fridge right now. It’s mostly a midwest drink too, so it’s hard to find if you don’t live in the midwest. Making Tom and Jerry Batter does require some baking skills, too, as the meringue is not the easiest ingredient to make right, and you will need an electric mixer of some sort (a hand mixer is fine, it doesn’t have to be one of those larger KitchenAid ones). Do not try and make this by hand with a balloon whisk. Making meringue with a whisk is almost impossible. It would help if you had an egg beater or electric mixer; otherwise, your forearms will be on fire.
Again, if you do not live in the midwest, you are forced to make this yourself, but even if you do, a homemade Tom and Jerry Batter is worth it. Better product, you know what you put in it, easily adjust the sweetness to your taste, much cheaper to make it than buy it, and it only takes about 15 minutes to complete.
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