This is a family tradition cocktail, the Tom and Jerry, one that we have every year! Cheers!
Every year after the turkey and trimmings have been consumed and about the time everyone starts to get hungry for pie, someone will break out the mixer and the hot water and make up a big batch of hot drinks called the Tom and Jerry. For us, breaking out the Tom and Jerry drinks is officially the start of the Christmas season! Likewise, our tradition is to start decorating for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving, and the Tom and Jerry’s will keep flowing at family events until after the New Year.
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Tom & Jerry
Originally created back in the 1850’s as a winter cocktail at St. Louis’s Planter House Hotel by Jerry Thomas. Thomas authored the first cocktail book Bar-Tender’s Guide, How to Mix Drinks back in 1862 and who was considered the godfather of American mixology.
The Tom and Jerry is a steamy sweet drink spiked with brandy and rum and topped with a big aromatic burst of nutmeg. It was likely inspired by a boozy version of English eggnog that is commonly served around the Holidays. The warm drink full of spices and aromatics is perfect sipping on a cold winter’s night. The Tom and Jerry quickly gained favor at saloons and bars with drinkers who wanted a warming tipple.
What is a Tom & Jerry?
In our family, the Tom and Jerry was one of Mr. Nom’s grandparents favorite holiday drinks (they even had the little white china mugs that said Tom and Jerry on them!) The Grandparents were always the ones who made the batter, and at family gatherings at their house meant that at some point Tom and Jerry’s would be served for all (virgin drinks for the kids of course!).
When we started hosting family gatherings, we decided that we needed to keep up this tradition and serve mugs of Tom and Jerry to our family.
What Ingredients are Needed for the Tom & Jerry Cocktail?
- Brandy or Rum
- Vanilla Extract
- Cloves, Cinnamon and Nutmeg
- Powdered Sugar
We could have used the recipe that the grandparents used. But, as is our typical path when looking at drinks for the blog, we do a little research in finding the right recipe. While we have always enjoyed the Tom and Jerry‘s served at family gatherings, one commonly heard complaint was that the drink was way too sweet.
We were looking in our copy of the Bar-Tender’s Guide and the original recipe sounded delicious. Likewise, it was definitely not nearly as sweet. Since we are big on trying out the classic cocktails, we decided to serve our version of the original recipe this year. We did a taste test at our Thanksgiving gathering versus the sweet recipe that had been served for many years.
The original recipe calls for a a somewhat laborious process to make the batter. It consists of separating the eggs and fluffing the whites into a pillowy foam like a meringue while also foaming milk on the stove. While this sounds like a pain, the results are well worth it. Especially when you are sipping your deliciously steaming mug of rich boozy foam!
Using brandy and rum to add in a big boozy base, the rich fluffy batter and frothy milk is like a spicy aromatic version of an eggnog latte! When we served our version to our guests, they all responded that they liked our version! They liked how much more balanced and rich our version was.
Like this recipe? Try these below, too!
Other Tom & Jerry Cocktails
- hot water
- 6 eggs, separated
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch each of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg
- brandy, rum or a combination of both
- hot milk
Separate eggs. Whites and yolks in different bowls.
Whip whites in a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer.
When thickened slightly, add 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, 1 spoonful at a time. Continue whipping whites until stiff peaks form.
Mix yolks and remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.
When whites are stiffened, add yolk mix to whites and fold to combine.
When making cocktails, add batter to cup, around 1/4 cup, and then add brandy and rum (1.50 oz total).
We used 1 oz brandy and .50 oz rum, but you can use whatever combination you like the best. Add at least 4 oz hot milk, then top off mug with hot water if desired.
You can add as much milk as you like, more makes it creamier.
Add grated nutmeg on top for a garnish.
Stir slightly to combine.
Libbey 10.5-ounce Irish Coffee Mug, 4-piece Set
HIC Japanese-Style Double Cocktail Jigger, 18/8 Stainless Steel, 4.75-Inches, 0.5-Ounce to 2-Ounce
KitchenAid KSM150PSER Artisan Tilt-Head Stand Mixer with Pouring Shield, 5-Quart, Empire Red
Indian Spice Nutmeg Whole 3.5oz-
Rodelle Cinnamon Sticks, 8 Ounce
Whole Cloves 3.5 oz
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 105 Total Fat: 2.2g Saturated Fat: 0.7g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 82mg Sodium: 31mg Carbohydrates: 10.2g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 10.1g Protein: 0g
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