This warming holiday cocktail is said to have been concocted in the 1850s by famed Manhattan bartender Jerry Thomas. The drink re-emerged in the 1950s and gained popularity among the party crowd. This cocktail can be difficult to perfect, so you may find yourself "experimenting" with it throughout the holidays.
- 3 eggs, separated
- 4 tbsp. powdered sugar, sifted
- 10 1⁄2 oz. brandy
- 10 oz. bourbon or dark rum
- 8 cups milk
- Freshly grated nutmeg
Whisk egg whites in a large bowl until foamy, then while whisking, gradually add 2 tbsp. sugar until stiff peaks form. Whisk egg yolks together with remaining 2 tbsp. sugar and 1 tbsp. brandy in small bowl until thick and pale yellow. Fold whites into yolks, and refrigerate until ready to use, up to 30 minutes.
Heat milk in a large saucepan over medium heat until bubbles appear around edge of pan. Reduce heat and keep milk hot but not simmering. Heat 8-oz. mugs with boiling water, then pour water out. To each mug add 1 oz. (about 1 tbsp.) brandy, 1 oz. bourbon, and a dollop of batter and stir well. Fill with hot milk, then float a dollop of batter with a dusting of nutmeg on top.