We already had some snow in Paradelle as a follow-up to Hurricane Sandy, so I tested out the snow blower and started thinking about hot holiday drinks for this week.

Hot chocolate works for the kids, of course. But my late Aunt Millie’s favorite (and mine) are hot toddies.

Sherry is good for sipping and conversation or after turkey dinner or while you are being hypnotized watching the Christmas tree lights blink.

My mom was a fan of brandy (she liked blackberry) for when you come in from shoveling snow. WE upgraded to whiskey after you walked home in the snow from Christmas Eve midnight mass.

George Washington was a fan of eggnog with rum, whiskey and sherry. No wonder they stayed camped out in the snow so long in New Jersey.

I also discovered a once classic winter warmer called the Tom and Jerry – a frothy mix of brandy, rum, beaten eggs, hot milk, sugar, and spices. It’s not from the cartoon characters. The origin is as fuzzy as those tree lights after Millie had her third toddy, but some point to Pierce Egan’s Life in London, or The Day and Night Scenes of Jerry Hawthorn Esquire and his Elegant Friend Corinthian Tom (1821).

Pierce (an excellent name for a bon vivant, boxing and horse racing writer) seems to have whipped up a version of eggnog and called it a “Tom and Jerry,” in honor of his two mates.

If you want to bring back Pierce’s version (which was actually quite popular in the Currier & Ives days), try the recipe below or take your bartender’s guidebook along to a party or bar and educate someone.

2 large eggs, separated (watch out for Mr. Salmonella – coddle the eggs?)
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon Jamaican rum
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Small pinch ground allspice
Small pinch ground cloves
Large pinch ground cinnamon
2 2/3 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon freshly grated whole nutmeg or ground nutmeg

Whisk those yolks, add sugar, rum, vanilla extract, allspice, cloves, and cinnamon, and whisk again. Go electric and beat the egg whites in another bowl until stiff. Then “fold” (a great cooking term) whites into yolk mixture, and set aside.

Last steps: medium saucepan over low heat, bring milk to simmer, remove from heat. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of egg batter to mug, then 4 tablespoons of remaining rum, stirring constantly to prevent curdling (which can really ruin a party). Fill mug with hot milk, stir, sprinkle with nutmeg, and serve.

You didn’t think it was going to be this hard, did you? Now you know why Aunt Millie preferred hot toddies! Well, you can also cheat and just buy the commercial eggnog and add 2 ounces of rum to a 6 ounce glass mug. (Okay, it doesn’t have to be a glass mug, but I do like that look.)

There’s also the Nutty Irishmen, Red Hot Ale, hot buttered rum.

And, of course, Aunt Millie’s Toddy:

1 tbsp honey
3/4 glass tea
2 shots of a flavored brandy, sherry, whiskey or peppermint schnapps  (It depends on how warmed up you need to be.)
optional slice of lemon

Beautiful simplicity.

Okay, snow – I am ready.

8 Pc. Complete Bartender Set

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