Tom and Jerry's are a classic holiday cocktail drink that
are enjoyed by many starting with the Thanksgiving holiday all the way to
New Year’s day. The main ingredients of the drink batter is made of
beaten eggs, sugar, and vanilla. A healthy scoop of drink batter is
added to the cup, then hot water, and then liquor of your choice (rum,
brandy or whiskey) is stirred in. The drink is finally topped with a
dash of nutmeg. The taste is best described as drinking a Christmas
Once you make your first batch, it gets a bit addictive, as it is so
easy to make and so delicious!
This drink is a Christmas tradition for my family. My family has made the Tom and Jerry drinks to
mark the Christmas season for as long as I can remember.
It is a wonderful drink that our family has enjoyed for
years on Christmas Eve's.
I can not imagine Christmas without it.
The drink is often mistaken for eggnog - but eggnog it is not! A Tom and Jerry is light and spicy with a sweet foamy crown
that forms when hot water is stirred into the batter. Once you have sprinkled the top with nutmeg,
it is ready to drink. For the children in your family, just leave out the alcohol.
Please check out my Christmas
Prime Rib Dinner Menu and
Holiday Open House Menu which includes this delicious holiday Tom and Jerry Batter recipe.
History of Tom and Jerry Cocktails:
There is debate on the origin of the drink, whether it was
invented by a British journalist who named the drink after characters in his
popular novel in the 1820’s or if it was invented by an American bartender in
1850 who first published a recipe. The Tom and Jerry drink used to be
extremely popular in the United States. For over one hundred years, you
could even buy Tom and Jerry drink sets. A resurgence of the drinks
popularity came about in the 1940’s after the World War II. This is most
likely due to more families entertaining at home instead of the bars.
Special drink sets were sold with a punch bowl for the batter and matching mugs
with "Tom and Jerry" written on the bowl and each mug. We don't see Tom
and Jerry's served as much now days, but this cocktail still lives on strongly
in the Midwest, especially in the states of Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Perhaps it due to the long cold winters in this area of the country. It is
very common for Midwesterner’s to find the Tom and Jerry drink batter in their
local markets during the holiday season.
1821 - Pierce Egan, British journalist and author of popular novel, “The
Day and Night Scenes of Jerry Hawthorn, Esq. and His Elegant Friend Corinthian
Tom” and the following stage play “Tom and Jerry, or Life in London” is rumored
to have named a “Tom and Jerry” drink after characters in his book as a
publicity stunt. Egan’s version is a variation of eggnog that added brandy
in addition to the rum. The additional alcohol made the drink very
1862 - “Professor” Jerry Thomas, a
famous American bartender from New York city and author of the first
bartender guide, “How to Mix Drinks: or, The Bon-Vivant’s Companion,”
1862, includes some of the earliest recipes for America’s favorite
cocktails. His recipe version for Tom and Jerry’s calls for 12
eggs and uses hot water instead of milk. Because of the book's
popularity, Americans have adopted this Tom and Jerry recipe and the
drink was extremely popular across the United States until his death in
5 lbs. sugar.
½ small glass of Jamaica rum.
1 ½ teaspoonful of ground cinnamon.
½ teaspoon of ground cloves.
½ teaspoon of ground allspice.
Beat the whites of the eggs to a
stiff froth, and the yolks until they are as thin as water, then mix
together and add the spice and rum, thicken with sugar until the
mixture attains the consistence of a light batter.
To deal out Tom and Jerry to
customers: Take a small bar glass, and to one table-spoonful of the
above mixture, add one wine-glass of brandy, and fill the glass with
boiling water, grate a little nutmeg on top.
Adepts at the bar, in serving Tom and Jerry, sometimes adopt a
mixture of ½ brandy, ¼ Jamaica rum and ¼ Santa Cruz rum, instead of
brandy plain. This compound is usually mixed and keep in a
bottle and a wine-glassful is used to each tumbler of Tom and Jerry.
N.B. – A tea-spoonful of cream of tartar, or about as much carbonate
of soda as you can get on a dime, will prevent the sugar from
settling to the bottom of the mixture.
original version of the drink needed all that sugar to thicken the
mixture against the hot water.
1952 - Puerto Rican Rum advertisement in Life Magazine, Nov 17,
1952, pg 110, features “Traditional American Drinks – Delicious with
Puerto Rican Rum."
Tom and Jerry:
Into the beaten yolk of 1 egg, work 1 tsp sugar, ¼ tsp Allspice, 2
oz. Puerto Rican Rum, beating until smooth and thick. Beat egg
white separately to stiff froth and add to above mixture, stirring
well. Put this mixture into a preheated mug, fill with hot
milk or boiling water and dust with nutmeg. History’s all-time
greatest Winter Warmer.
antique Tom and Jerry drink sets from the 1940s.
The Kitchen Project website, Food History, The History of Egg Nog,
by Stephen Block, Dec 16, 2006.
The Etsy Blog, Kitchen Histories: The Tom and Jerry, by
Sarah Lohman, Dec 17, 2012.
Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails: From the Alamagoozlum
Cocktail to the Zombie, by Ted Haigh, October 1, 2004.
MaClean’s website, Tom and Jerry, and boughs of holly, by Sarah
Elton, Dec 21, 2009.
Tom and Jerry Batter Recipe:
Beverage and Cocktails
Yields: serves many
Prep time: 20 min
eggs, separated and room temperature*
2 1/4 cups superfine
Salt to taste (just a small pinch)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup powdered milk
Rum, brandy, or whiskey (your choice)
* I know that
they say you should not use raw eggs anymore! We do and have for many,
many years. Just be sure and purchase very fresh or
pasteurized eggs to use for this wonderful drink.
** If you can't
find superfine sugar (also called Baker's sugar), use regular granulated sugar.
I like to use the superfine sugar because it dissolves easier.
We usually triple (3 times) the recipe for our family.
In a small bowl, beat egg yolks until thick; set aside.
In a large bowl of your electric mixer, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Using a spatula, fold 1/2 cup
superfine or granulated sugar slowly into the prepared egg whites.
Using your rubber spatula, fold the beaten egg yolks into the egg whites
with the sugar.
Add the remaining 1 3/4 cups superfine or granulated sugar, salt, and vanilla extract.
Still using your rubber spatula, slowly and gradually fold in the powdered milk.
Store, covered, in the refrigerator, and use as needed. Will keep up to one (1) week in the refrigerator.
Mixture will probably separate in the refrigerator. No problem - just stir and use. The drink will still turn out
frothy and delicious.
How To Make Tom and Jerry Drinks:
Make each individual serving in a large cup or mug:
Place 1 to 3 heaping tablespoons of prepared Tom and Jerry batter into each cup (amount depends on size of cup and to your taste preference).
Our family uses 3 heaping tablespoons for an 8-ounce cup.
Add boiling water to fill cups to 3/4 full.
Add 1 ounce of either rum, brandy, or whiskey to each cup
(use the amount of liquor you desire - for children, leave the
Stir until well blended. Sprinkle with nutmeg.
Serve and enjoy!
Your Might Also Like:
Egg Nog Punch
This is an excellent egg nog recipe for a large crowd during the holidays.
Mexican Egg Nog (Rompope)
Rompope, also known as Rompope de Santa Clara, is the Mexican version of the popular holiday egg nog. The word "rompope" is a derivation of the
word "pope." This is a favorite holiday drink in Mexico, and since Rompope is strong and sweet, it is meant to be sipped in small glasses.
Italian Affogato - Affogato al Cafe
Affogato means "drowned" in Italian or "drowned in coffee." It is a dish of perfect, preferably
smooth ice cream, drowning in a cup of espresso - like a decadent coffee float!
Comments from readers:
When I found your site it just jumped out at
me because of the
Tom and Jerry Batter recipe. It brought back so many great memories of my childhood. I was raised in the
San Francisco Bay area. Every spirit shop carried Tom & Jerry mix. I have
not seen it in years. Mom and Dad would never go a year with out T&J mix in
the house for drop in guest or parties. I just wanted to thank you for bringing fond
memories back. I lost my Mom and Dad within 3 years of each other. Holidays
are when I really miss them so much. Now that I have found your site I will
keep coming back, I will also tell my friends what a great site you have.
Thanks For The Memories.
- Reverend Dee Dee De Moss
I am so happy to find this recipe. This was
the favorite holiday tradition for me and my father. There used to be a
beverage dock and the owner made it for the holidays and I have never been
able to find it in years. This will be a chance for me to start the
tradition again with my now married family and honor my father.