The Cocktail Column: Tom & Jerry

I’ll admit to it:  what caused me to pause when I came across this recipe was the name Tom & Jerry.  I wondered what the connection was between a cocktail and a cat and mouse, but then I realized I had it in reverse:  This drink, an 19th century classic, has to be where the name comes from.  Since Karen and I were Tom and Jerry for Halloween one year (in our mom’s home-sewn costumes), I couldn’t pass it up.

Tom and Jerry cocktails for new year! (blog post to come)

Also, it has sugar, aged rum, and cognac. Yeah, that.

Tom and Jerry "batter" prep

This warm drink is a perfect way to adhere to the holiday eggnog tradition while trying something a bit new.  The aromas of cinnamon, mace, allspice and cloves are all the more fragrant thanks to the hot milk. A bit of a hot toddy, it’s a lighter drink than your standard ‘nog, with whipped egg whites foaming on the surface, but it’s only lighter in a sense:  the aged rum and cognac ensure that it’s a drink that is plenty powerful.

Tom and Jerry "batter" prep

You can make the “batter” (which is the egg base of this recipe) a day in advance and store in the fridge.  You’re prepared in advance:  seems like a good way to start the year: another bonus of this recipe.

For an even lighter festive drink,  try Marie’s spiced citrus champagne here.  And if you find you need something with a bit of caffeine to keep you up through midnight, try the Garum Factory’s latest affogato corretto (espresso and ice cream “corrected”–with alcohol of course)!

But whatever’s in your glass, Happy New Year!

Tom and Jerry cocktails

The Cocktail Column: Tom & Jerry

A classic 19th century cocktail, adapted from [url href=”″%5DFood & Wine[/url]
  • Tom and Jerry Batter
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/8 cream of tartar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 ounce aged rum
  • 1c superfine sugar
  • 1/8t ground cinnamon
  • 1/8t ground mace
  • 1/8 ground allspice
  • pinch cloves
  • The Cocktail
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) Tom & Jerry Batter
  • 4 ounces Cognac
  • 4 ounces aged rum
  • 8 ounces hot whole milk
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish
Tom and Jerry Batter
  1. In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until soft peaks form.
  2. In another bowl, beat the egg yolks with 1/2 ounce aged rum.
  3. Gradually beat in the superfine sugar, the cinnamon, mace, allspice and cloves.
  4. Gently fold in the beaten egg whites.
  5. The batter can be refrigerated overnight. Makes about 20 ounces (enough for 2 1/2 batches)
The Cocktail
  1. Pour the Tom & Jerry Batter into a large heatproof measuring cup.
  2. Gently fold in the Cognac and rum, then gently stir in the hot milk.
  3. Pour the drink into 4 small warmed mugs or heatproof glasses.
  4. Garnish with nutmeg.


A new type of Cocktail Column (at least short term)

So it’s been a while since I’ve written a cocktail column. Now, honestly, this means close to nothing for me because I’m not as dutiful or as culinary as my older sister Sara, but if you have guessed that I can’t  have alcohol you are also correct. Babies and hard liquor don’t really go. So, after February maybe I’ll be able to slowly get back to where I was!  Until then, this column will be have more fruit, more spritzer and 0.0% alcohol content. I’m sad about it too. However, I’ve been asking at many different restaurants for the “virgin cocktails, the mocktails” or whatever other name they have for the alcohol free cocktail. I’ve also started looking up many recipes, but have yet to find really good alcohol-free versions. There is really no replacing a mimosa, a St Germain cocktail or a fabulous bottle of red. The best replacement I have seen has been the mojito.

Typically the mojito is sugar, rum, some version of seltzer and mint. The bubbliness of the mojito makes it the only drink that is ok without the rum. (Note: I will never say better in any of these blogs. I just can’t. Wont. Ever.) It makes sense when you think about the mojito, a drink ordered for relaxation, a drink ordered for the fact that it’s refreshing.

While I continue to search for the best mojito, I will tell you a couple of non-alcoholic drinks that should not be tried.

#1. Non alcoholic beer

I don’t care what the brand. It’s awful. Yes, I tried it. I was trying to fit in. Fitting in is important and even though I’m not in high school anymore sometimes that feeling wants to creep back in. The taste? Well, it tastes how kitty litter smells. Foul. It’s also a complete waste of calories.

#2  Virgin Margaritas

Now these aren’t the worst, but they aren’t the best. I just had one last at night at our favorite tex mex restaurants that serve the best margaritas. You eat your chips. You have the greasy queso. You are relaxed and feeling, well not pregnant and then you take a sip. Unsatisfying. It’s like having a great sprite. There’s nothing wrong with sprite. In fact I really like it from time to time, but we know it’s not like a margarita with salt on the rim. Nothing is.

So for anyone on a diet, a restriction or in the midst of a rough hangover, try the mojito. It’s the only sensible way to go. I will continue to keep everyone updated on my search for great mocktails.

Sprained Sangria

This one’s for the cocktail column!

And it’s called “Sprained Sangria” because I only noticed my wrist was sprained after I finished.

It was a sunny, beautiful July 4th morning in Corvallis, Oregon.  Paul and I were out biking, and though I’ve ridden one particular road many times on a road bike, I had yet to explore the beauties of the trails on a mountain bike. Though I dislike (greatly) the downhill, I still wanted to give it a shot.  Downhill could be a better opponent than a speeding car afterall.  My first tumble came at a slow speed.  In fact, I was attempting to stop and stop I did.  I just couldn’t get my feet out of the pedals in time.  With this small war wound, I insisted that we carry on.  We rode through campus and then up into the hills, lots and lots of uphill, huffing and puffing to get to Dimple Hill.  Indeed, there was vista and I felt fit and ready to declare an affinity or at least a small liking to mountain biking.

Then we had to go downhill.  The gears were very low to assist the uphill climb, so it was counter-productive and horrible for balance on the downhill.  Add that to my fear of high speed descents and a few huge tree roots — then came my second fall.  No worries.  I protected Paul’s bike using my body to break the fall.  In many different ways I felt I had impaled something.  With that grunt and cry, Paul decided we begin mountain bike hiking (his preferred form of “hiking”).   Once the trails were “done” – we were passed several times, naturally, and we’d trekked over a stream or two (this is NOT as treacherous as I like to make it sound), I decided I could handle the double track descent.  There were fewer limbs and roots to contend with.  The speed was picking up, so I started applying the brakes, trying the “feathering” technique Paul counseled.  Something happened.  I flew head first over the handle bars.  I got some “air” and apparently appeared as if I were diving into a swimming pool.  It was probably quite miraculous that I was able to ride home.  I refused to discuss it, trying to contain my shock and my pride after the bucking mountain bike.  Aside from the shock, really, I was fine.  “Fine” – a loaded term.  We made it home with me little miss cranky pants.  We even headed to the store later (on bikes!) to pick up the goods for a afternoon BBQ.  No problem!

And so, pretending the accident never happened, I set to course chopping and prepping for the menu.  We had a chard potato salad (with tangy lemon tahini dressing borrowed from Sara’s kale & potato salad recipe).  Paul was grilling chicken (for the guests) and tofu (for me!), and I was set to make the sangria and then a peach and blueberry crisp.  After I had finished it all, and sat to sip my sangria, I realized I had actually sprained my wrist.  Mildly.

Sprained Sangria

  • 1 bottle Cabernet-Sauvignon
  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lime
  • Splash of orange juice
  • 2 shots of Orange Liquor
  • 1 cup of blueberries
  • ½ cup of crushed pineapple with juice
  • Ginger ale

Pour wine in pitcher and then cut the citrus into wedges, squeezing the juice into the pitcher.  Cut the wedges into more bite size pieces and add to the mix.  Splash in the OJ and the 2 shots of liquor.  Add the berries and pineapple and give a hearty stir.  Refrigerate as long as you can before ladling 1 cup (or so) into a pint glass over ice.  Top off with ginger ale.

The Sangria

The Sprain

Eating Through Peru

My husband and I just got back from a glorious trip to Peru where we were really pleased with all of our meals. Peru is known for its amazing ceviche which has different variations from the immigrants who have come to Peru over the years. It’s also known for it’s delicacy-the guinea pig. Another one of our favorites is the Pisco Sour which is the “Peruvian cocktail.” There are countless other great meals and snacks we tried in Cuzco and hiking trip through the Andes on our way to Macchu Piccu. Listed below are just a few of the fav’s.

First Up: The Coco leaves that make an adequate tasting tea to help with the altitude sickness. You can chew on them constantly to help while you are hiking or you can just drink it with hot water. All throughout museums there are sculptures of indigenous people with large jaws to show how the people continuously chewed on the leaves while they worked and hiked through the mountains. Also, the Spaniards were happy distributing the leaves to the people they made work for them through the conquering years. Coco leaves also happen to deprive you of an appetite and have caffeine. A perfect combo in the conquerors mind. My husband enjoyed the coco candies they have. I still am unsure as to whether they are really that effective with all that sugar added in!

Next: The famous Pisco Sour.

It’s similar to the margarita and the caprihina.It’s made with pisco which is the famous liquor (which a grape brandy made in Peru and Chile) in Peru with lime, sugar and angostura bitters to top it off. I’m in love with this drink, but it is heavy! We had two the last night we were in Peru and it was one too many. With the elevation in Cuzco being 11,000 feet above sea level, we started to realize why limiting alcohol was heavily advised.

Next…. The Guinea Pig
I wasn’t a fan. In short, it’s gamey and you do have to watch for small bones. We had a nicer version at a nice restartant we were at that served it with pancake and a sweet and sour sauce to dip it in. It made you forget …sort of…

On our way to our hike, we stopped off at a local market and watched the locals make scarves and sweaters from the alpaca of the region. They also had made some guinea pig in the traditional way. Full roast. I didn’t partake in this one.

Another Peruvian drink that some of you may have heard of is corn beer or corn juice. Many farmers are known to chug down a glass of corn juice for breakfast as it’s supposed to give you lots of energy. We stopped off at brewery and tried some fresh corn juice that had yet to be fermented. The local guide and owner told us that in a typical home a “shot class” was a twenty ounce glass that had to be drunk upon arrival at someone’s house. Otherwise, the host would think you were rude. I was able to sip the juice but it was very, very sweet.

Next up, one of my favorite meals of the entire lunch. We stopped off for lunch the day before the hike and were served an amazing, hearty stew. There was no corn or potatoes lacking in my diet on my trip to Peru. This meal was no exception. It was a mixture of quinoa, potatoes, corn and shredded chicken. It was delicious. It was topped off with…wait for it… corn juice. This was a blue corn, however which is much more naturally sweet and used everywhere as a candy base.

There were many other great foods we tried while on our trip. We were lucky enough to go on an extremely difficult, yet satisfying three day hike and saw incredible views along the way. We were more lucky to have an amazing chef prepare our meals throughout the hike! We got three course meals–at every meal. Two last meals that I think are worth sharing are this amazing quinoa porridge. Sweet, simple and something I’m definitely going to be looking for in cookbooks over the next couple of months (so sorry I have no pic!). The second, but most favorite meal of the trip is a standard dish on all menu’s. It’s called Aji de Gallina and it’s a shredded chicken with cream base made with olives and walnuts. It also has aji amarillo peppers which are slightly hot and create the vivid yellow sauce. It comes with a side of rice, avocado. Amazing comfort food. I think I had it three times in one week.

In case anyone wants to try it tonight:
Aji De Gallina Recipe on

This seems to be a great recipe, but I haven’t tried it yet!

Thanks for reading!

The Cocktail Column: The Chunnel

I’m elbowing my way in to Marie’s Cocktail Column to tell you about one of my own, the Chunnel.

OK, it’s not exactly “my own.”  I’ve been subscribing to Chow’s cocktail feed for some time now, so I get a few recipes a week for mixed drinks.  And I love the idea of cocktails, I just don’t really get around to making them.  But finally, this time, I did more than just skim the recipe.

I have to love a drink called the Chunnel–named after the tunnel that connects the twin stars of London and Paris under the English Channel.  Back in my international woman of mystery days, there was nothing so exciting as getting on a train for just over three hours and arriving in the heart of Paris–I could never believe my eyes, suddenly immersed in French signs and hearing the French language, without having had to take painful overnight flight first.

Far from international jaunts to European capitals, now as parents to two kids we didn’t even manage our first dinner party until this weekend (and it took a little while for even that to be an adults-only affair).  And I bookmarked this drink in anticipation.

(Cocktails) The Chunnel (1 of 3)

Besides the glamorous name, it uses Meyer lemons (of course it does, why would it use regular lemons?) and St. Germain liqueur, a clear spirit that looks as if it were distilled from light honey or soft gold but is actually made from elderflower blossoms, picked in the Alps (seriously?  yes) and presented in a Belle-Epoque style jar.  Not bargain price, but tres chic.  You get floral, almost perfumy notes, floating atop the brightness of lemon, punched up by gin.

Obviously, the perfect drink for the occasion.

This cocktail is also quite sweet–the kind of sweet that is dangerous as you might forget it’s quite strong.  Although I didn’t try it (I had copious amounts of Meyer lemons to use up after ordering a box of citrus online one day when I should have been doing something more worthwhile), you could use regular lemons.  Your drink would be tarter, but I’m positive that the St. Germain is sophisticated enough on its own to carry the day, lack of designer lemons notwithstanding.

(Cocktails) The Chunnel (3 of 3)

The Chunnel from San Francisco’s Town Hall restaurant, available here

  • ice
  • 1 ounce St-Germain elderflower liqueur
  • 2 ounces gin
  • 3/4 ounce freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
  • Meyer lemon twist, for garnish (optional)
Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice.  Add each of the elderflower liqueur, gin, and lemon juice. Shake vigorously until the sides of the shaker are frosty, about 20 to 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with the lemon twist (if using), and serve.  (I made two at one go; I’m not sure if this would be frowned upon but I thought it came out just fine).

606 R & D

A new restaurant has just opened up in my neighborhood. I’ve already been there twice.

It’s 606 R and D. It’s recently been highlighted in some magazines as an up and coming new restaurant. For the New Yorkers who read this blog, the chefs are from the famous City Bakery in Manhattan.

There is so much to talk about at this restaurant. My husband and I woke up the next day still talking about how good the food was. Nuf said. There is kombucha ON TAP, freshly made donuts made out of their donut machine (which you can get with ricotta and honey on top), and a wide variety of fresh, seasonal vegetables that are so hearty you won’t be craving any meat at all.

I will be sure to go back plenty of times to go into detail about any of the above ingredients, but I wanted to get back to what I enjoy best. Cocktails.

We waited an hour to be seated so we had some time to drink up at the bar. I got the Winter #12 which is hum (no, not rum-hum), sherry, mezcal and grapefruit juice. This is a strong cocktail that has a slight smokey aftertaste. I actually blogged earlier about Mezcal’s version which obviously has many drinks with this type of liquor in it. Supposedly it’s made from the same type of plant as tequila but is definitely different (so the bartender said) and is made in the region of Mezcal, Mexico. This is what gives the drink that smokey flavor which is a great drink to clear up those sinuses in this middle winter period we are all forced to live in!

The hum is something I’ve never heard of. Basically, it’s a new type of liquor made with ginger and hibiscus. I think this helped cut the smokey flavor (along with the grapefruit juice).

My husband got the Odd Fashioned which is a spin-off of his favorite– the Old Fashioned. I’m not too much of a fan, but this is not because of the bartender’s lack of skills, just a strong drink that’s not much up my alley. His was made of bourbon, brown sugar (yum), parsnip syrups (weird, huh?), and orange bitters.

606 R & D on Urbanspoon