Tom and Jerry cocktail recipe is a classic holiday cocktail drink that is enjoyed by many starting with the Thanksgiving holiday all the way to New Year’s day. The main ingredients of the Tom and Jerry batter is made of beaten eggs, sugar, and vanilla. A healthy scoop of the batter is added to the cup, then hot water, and the liquor of your choice (rum, brandy or whiskey) is stirred in. The Tom and Jerry cocktail is finally topped with a dash of nutmeg. The taste is best described as drinking a warm Christmas sugar cookie. Once you make your first batch of batter mix, it gets a bit addictive as it is so easy to make and so delicious!
The Tom and Jerry cocktail drink is a Christmas tradition for my family. We have been making Tom and Jerry drinks to mark the Christmas season for as long as I can remember. For some reason, the men in our family like to mix up the batter mix and prepare the cocktails. Maybe it is because they are looking forward to the first cup! Traditionally, we prepare the Tom and Jerry batter and serve up with Whisky to the adults on Christmas Eve. The kids get to enjoy virgin Tom and Jerry’s too so everyone in the family is included. Virgin Tom and Jerry drinks are just as delicious with just the batter mixed with hot water and the liquor is omitted. I can not imagine Christmas without this Tom and Jerry Drink!
Tom and Jerry’s are often mistaken for eggnog – but eggnog it is not! A Tom and Jerry cocktail drink is light with a foamy crown that forms when hot water is stirred into the batter. Tom and Jerry’s have more of a sweet vanilla flavor (hence the feeling of drinking a warm sugar cookie) while eggnog is a thicker/heavier drink. There are no egg whites used to make eggnog foamy and it is more of a milk-based drink with a combination of spices such as cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
History of Tom and Jerry Cocktails:
1821 – Pierce Egan, British journalist and author of the 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 popular.
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 1885:
1/2 small glass of Jamaica rum
1 1/2 teaspoonful of ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon of ground allspice
1952 – Puerto Rican Rum advertisement in Life Magazine, Nov 17, 1952, pg 110, features “Traditional American Drinks – Delicious with Puerto Rican Rum:
Classic Tom and Jerry Batter and Drink Recipe
- 6 eggs, separated and room temperature*
- 2 1/4 cups superfine sugar, divided**
- Salt to taste, just a small pinch
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup powdered milk
- Boiling water
- 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 liquor out).
Stir until well blended. Sprinkle with nutmeg.
Serve and enjoy!
Watch a Video to Learn to Make Tom and Jerry Cocktails.
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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.
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