Christmas season is the time of year when we can all become children again and experience a rebirth in our spiritual and sensual sides. We can also rediscover our love of classic cocktails and liquors that hearken us back to a magical time in our world.
A classic Midwest tradition is the Tom and Jerry. This awesome hot drink can warm our souls and hearts. What is more relaxing than sitting around the fireplace with a warm mug of thick delicious decadent Tom and Jerry?
A Tom and Jerry is made with batter, brandy and rum. Longtime Rochester restaurant Michaels was famous for their Tom and Jerrys, anticipated all year by many families.
To make a Tom and Jerry at home, grab three eggs, ½ teaspoon each of allspice, cinnamon, cloves, and 3 teaspoons of powdered sugar. Separate the egg whites from the yolks and beat separately. Fold the yolk and the spices into the egg white. Use this batter in the bottom of your mug. Add hot milk, rum and brandy and you will be warmed to the bone!
I get a little lazy sometimes (OK, most of the time), so I love the ease and convenience of Flaherty’s Tom and Jerry Batter. Developed in 1947 by the Flaherty family, they have developed a strong following and the batter is delicious! Dollop their famous batter in a mug, add piping hot milk or water, ½ jigger of Christian Bros. Brandy and ½ jigger of Bacardi Black Rum, and you will be amazed! It is delicious and will make any cold night seem a little more bearable. Or for a special treat, try the Flaherty’s in your French toast batter on a holiday morning.
Decadence and indulgence is a theme of Christmas. We love to indulge our family and friends with meaningful gifts and thoughts. Part of the indulgence is rich, thick Baileys Irish Creme. The original and still the best, Baileys has been on the market since the early 1970s and is the best selling creme in the world. Its proprietary blend of real Irish creme, real Irish whiskey and other secret flavors is great in coffee or hot chocolate, but it makes delicious creamy martinis when added with a premium vodka like SKYY, or add cold-press espresso for a treat.
If you don’t want creamy drinks, don’t worry. There are plenty of decadent holiday cordials that will make anyone feel good. Chambord is delicious elixir of fine French cognac, fresh blackberries and raspberries. Legend has it that King Louis XIV was the inspiration for this delicious libation. No heads were cut off during the manufacture — but there is royal inspiration in every bottle. I love Chambord on the rocks as a velvety smooth sipper. Or add Chambord to champagne for a bubbly masterpiece. However Chambord and vodka shaken in a martini glass is the perfect blend of sweet and strong. Garnish with fresh raspberry and you will be overwhelmed by framboise happiness.
Frangelico is a hazelnut masterpiece from the hills of Piedmont in Northern Italy. Discovered and perfected by Christian monks over 300 years ago, the bottle today hearkens images of the ingenious hermit monk who discovered the elixir. Imagine living the solitude life of hermit monk — you would need a little sumthin sumthin to get you through the lonely nights.
Frangelico is now world-renowned for its delicious flavors. Use it in a Tiramisu Martini. Take Frangelico, good vodka, Irish creme and cold espresso. Shake and strain into a martini glass for delicious dessert cocktail.
Or, if the black raspberry Chambord sounded good to you, put Chambord and Frangelico in equal parts in a lowball glass. Add ice and top with creme for an excellent after-dinner cocktail that will satisfy your need for sweet and nutty.
These is a few of the many holiday liquors out on the market. Other classics are Drambuie (Scotland), B&B (Benedictine monk liqueur and Fine French brandy), Kahlua (Mexican masterpiece) amaretto (Italian almond liquor) and dozens more.
Don’t be afraid to experiment and enjoy the history and tradition of Christmas drinks. It is a season of decadence and indulgence. But don’t forget the traditions and the happiness of being with family and friends. Enjoy in moderation and merry Christmas!