Tom & Jerry

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Cocktail History

The Tom & Jerry is a Christmas cocktail that became prominent in the United States after bartender Jerry Thomas published the recipe in his 1862 book The Bartender’s Guide: How to Mix Drinks. Now relatively unknown except for in the Midwest where it continues to be a Christmastime staple, it’s essentially a spiked version of eggnog that mixes a thick egg-based batter with a split base of spiced rum and brandy, milk, and nutmeg.

Cocktail Ingredients

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Tom & Jerry Batter: This is a mixture of egg yolk, egg white, powdered sugar, corn syrup, salt, vanilla extract, and baking spices that has been whipped into a batter. We used Mrs. Bowen’s Tom & Jerry Mix.

Milk: This is a liquid rich in calcium and protein that is produced by mammals. We used Prairie Farm Vitamin D Whole Milk. For a dairy-free version of this drink, try oat milk in place of the milk.

Spiced Rum: This is a type of rum made with sugarcane, spices, and water that has been barrel aged for a long period of time and flavored with spices. We used Far North Spirits Ålander Spiced Rum because it has a delicious spice with notes of caramel and banana. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Caleño Dark & Spicy Tropical Non-Alcoholic Spirit in place of the rum.

Brandy: This is a spirit made with distilled white wine or fruit mash. We used St-Rémy V.S.O.P French Brandy because it has a smooth taste with notes of vanilla, oak, and red berries. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Escape Mocktails Non-Alcoholic Cognac Alternative in place of the brandy.

Grated Nutmeg: This is a spice made from the seed of a nutmeg tree. We used whole nutmeg from the bulk section at our local grocery store.

Bartending Tools

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following bar tools:

Jigger: This is used to measure and pour ingredients. We used the Japanese jigger from the A Bar Above 14-Piece Silver Bar Set.

Saucepan: This is used to warm the ingredients. We used the Cuisinart 3-Quart Stainless Steel Saucepan with Cover.

Spoon: This is used to stir the ingredients. We used the OXO Good Grips Silicone Spoon.

Bar Spoon: This is used to stir ingredients. We used the Barfly Stainless Steel Teardrop Bar Spoon.

Grater: This is used to grate spices or citrus peel. We used the OXO Good Grips Grater.

Tasting Notes

The Tom & Jerry features aromas of nutmeg and egg and has a spirituous taste that combines alcohol-heavy rum and brandy with the sweet, spicy, and thick cookie batter-like mixture fortified with milk. The aftertaste then leaves notes of warm alcohol in the throat mellowed out with the sweetness and baking spice flavor of the batter.  

Our Opinion of This Cocktail Recipe: As you can tell from the ratings, we both love this classic and are very grateful that we can pick up a container of batter at our local grocery stores each Christmas. If you’re not quite so lucky, there are lots of recipes for the batter on the web if you do a quick Google search. Then you’ll be able to whip up a Tom & Jerry of your own!

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Find out if your palate is most similar to Alex’s or Kendall’s by answering five questions.

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Which of our palates is yours most like?
Find out if your palate is most similar to Alex’s or Kendall’s by answering five questions.

Take Our Quiz →

Alex’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
“The Tom & Jerry has held on as a holiday tradition in our area, and it’s understandable why. The batter, which is typically made ahead of time in gigantic batches, is what makes the difference, and it’s still so popular here in the Badger State that many grocers carry it in coolers from November on if, like us, you don’t quite have the itch to make your own mix at home. Plus, the split base of brandy and rum is certainly enough to not only keep you warm, but it will also help you enjoy family time a little more.”

Kendall’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
“This is a drink for all the cookie dough eaters out there! I had never heard of this Midwestern holiday staple until moving here several years ago. I wouldn’t have them very often because they’re heavy on the dairy (and calories), but I do love sneaking at least one in at Christmas. This classic version is sweet, thick, and creamy—just what you want to fill you up on a cold winter night while the Christmas tunes play on your record player. If you’ve never had a Tom & Jerry, try to find some batter and make some at home so you can try it at least once if you can. They’re a treat!”

Recipe

This cocktail recipe was adapted from The Bartender’s Guide: How to Mix Drinks by Jerry Thomas.

The Bartender's Guide: How to Mix Drinks: A Bon Vivant's Companion
The Bartender’s Guide: How to Mix Drinks: A Bon Vivant’s Companion
First cocktail book ever published.; Reproduction of 1862 edition. Hardcover, 272 pages.; New introduction and appendix by David Wondrich.
$39.95 Amazon Prime

AuthorHow To Mix Drinks

Yields14 ServingsPrep Time10 mins

Ingredients
 32 oz Milk
 14 oz Tom & Jerry Batter
 6 oz Spiced Rum
 6 oz Brandy
 Grated Nutmeg

Method
1

Add milk, rum, and brandy to a saucepan.

2

Cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes while stirring until mixture is warmed through.

3

Scoop 2 TBSP batter into mugs.

4

Top with 3-4 oz warm mixture.

5

Stir for 3-5 seconds.

6

Garnish with grated nutmeg.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 32 oz Milk
 14 oz Tom & Jerry Batter
 6 oz Spiced Rum
 6 oz Brandy
 Grated Nutmeg

Directions

Method
1

Add milk, rum, and brandy to a saucepan.

2

Cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes while stirring until mixture is warmed through.

3

Scoop 2 TBSP batter into mugs.

4

Top with 3-4 oz warm mixture.

5

Stir for 3-5 seconds.

6

Garnish with grated nutmeg.

Tom & Jerry

Make It a Mocktail: Use Caleño Dark & Spicy Tropical Non-Alcoholic Spirit in place of the rum and Escape Mocktails Non-Alcoholic Cognac Alternative in place of the brandy to try a booze-free version of this drink.

Shop Glassware & Tools

Find collections of cocktail glassware and bartending tools we recommend for your home bar in our Amazon shop.

Libbey Irish Coffee Mug, 1 Count (Pack of 12), Clear
Libbey Irish Coffee Mug, 1 Count (Pack of 12), Clear
Twelve 8-1/2-ounce clear glass irish coffee mugs; Dishwasher safe; Made in usa
$6.28 Amazon Prime
HISTORY COMPANY Original San Francisco Irish Coffee Glass 2-Piece Set (Gift Box Collection)
HISTORY COMPANY Original San Francisco Irish Coffee Glass 2-Piece Set (Gift Box Collection)
Unconditional 100% Quality and Satisfaction Guarantee
$38.00 Amazon Prime
Sale
Libbey 10.5 Oz. Irish Coffee Mug(pack of 12)
Libbey 10.5 Oz. Irish Coffee Mug(pack of 12)
Capacity: 10.5 Oz.; Height: 5″; Top Diameter: 3-1/16″; Bottom Diameter: 2-3/4″; Maximum Diameter: 4-1/4″
$27.25 Amazon Prime
Libbey 8-1/2-Ounce Irish Coffee Mug, 4-Piece Set, 0.24liters
Libbey 8-1/2-Ounce Irish Coffee Mug, 4-Piece Set, 0.24liters
Four 8-1/2-ounce clear irish coffee mugs 5 7/8-inch tall; Material: glass; Dishwasher safe
$27.89 Amazon Prime
OXO Good Grips Silicone Everyday Ladle
OXO Good Grips Silicone Everyday Ladle
Flexible ladle conforms to curves to scrape up every bit of sauce for serving; High heat-resistant silicone is gentle on non-stick surfaces
$15.95 Amazon Prime
NEW OXO Good Grips Grater, Stainless Steel, Black
NEW OXO Good Grips Grater, Stainless Steel, Black
Sharp, bi-directional, stainless steel grating surface for fast, easy grating; Non-slip foot provides control while grating
$15.42 Amazon Prime

More Christmas Cocktails

If you like this Christmas-inspired cocktail recipe, here are a few others we’ve tried that you may enjoy:

Poinsettia Cooler Cocktail Recipe

Poinsettia Cooler: A tequila cocktail made with cranberry juice, cranberry shrub, lime juice, and cranberries

Kohler Mint Cocoa Cocktail Recipe

Kohler Mint Cocoa: A chocolate mint brandy cocktail made with milk, white peppermint schnapps, dark crème de cacao, cocoa powder, whipped cream, and grated chocolate

Cranberry Cobbler Cocktail Recipe

Cranberry Cobbler: A sherry cocktail made with cranberry syrup, orange slices, a mint sprig, and cranberries

Figgy Pudding Cocktail Recipe

Figgy Pudding: A gin cocktail made with simple syrup, fig jam, ginger ale, and candied ginger

This post contains affiliate links, meaning we make a small commission each time you purchase a product using our links. Product images sourced from Amazon Product Advertising API. Amazon affiliate links last updated on 2024-04-23.

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