Sorry to post this out of season, but here, dear reader, is the very first installment of Movies and Mixed Drinks — a column that lets you know how to make the cocktails featured in the film, so you can enjoy them at the same time as the characters on-screen in a crazy, drunken meta-scenario that blurs the line between fiction and reality! Or, more accurately, so you can get buzzed while you watch. Either way, here goes…
The Movie = The Apartment
Billy Wilder’s tragicomic tale about a guy (Jack Lemmon) whose executive aspirations force him to loan out his tiny apartment to his many bosses. It’s the perfect love nest for them to conduct their extramarital affairs, and a promotion is promised in return, but things get messy when he discovers his office crush (Shirley MacLaine) happens to be one of those affairs. Believe it or not, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The Drink = The Tom and Jerry
Around the 51 minute mark, Lemmon’s character, C.C. Baxter, lets his boss know “The tom and jerry mix is in the refrigerator,” as he gets the place ready for the impending tryst. The Tom and Jerry is a holiday drink that nearly went extinct, but was once supremely popular. Nearly every house had its own Tom and Jerry set (cups and bowl) to serve the toasty beverage that puts eggnog to shame — at least in the author’s opinion. The labor intensive recipe, however, likely had something to do with the Tom and Jerry’s decline. The name predates the classic cartoon characters and probably relates, instead, to characters in a very old play by Pierce Egan. More important is how it’s made, so you can taste it for yourself.
Ingredients: (makes about ten drinks)
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
Cinnamon to taste (start with 1/2 a teaspoon)
.5 ounce Allspice dram (or 1/4 tsp allspice)
Pinch of cream of tartar
1 ounce dark rum
1 ounce brandy
Separate the egg whites from the yolks. Add all your ingredients (but hold off on the brandy) to the yolks and mix it all together well. Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar separately until they’re stiff, then mix the yolks and egg whites together to form the batter. For the best results, combine just half the egg whites at a time.
Finally, pour one or two ladles of batter into a mug with warm milk or hot water and top with 1 ounce brandy. Garnish with nutmeg and enjoy this lighter alternative to eggnog as you sit back and watch one of the all-time great romance movies.
* Best suited for consumption/viewing around Christmas or New Year’s.