Chase the winter chill away with a Tom and Jerry, a classic holiday cocktail that’s related to eggnog.
The Tom and Jerry cocktail is a traditional Christmas drink that has historically been very popular in the Mid-West region, particularly Wisconsin and Minnesota. However, it is virtually unknown in other parts of the country. A Tom and Jerry is similar to eggnog and the classic recipe consists of eggs that have been separated and the whites beaten until stiff, then the yolks, sugar and vanilla are mixed separately and then folded into the whites. This “batter” as it is called, is then mixed with hot water (or sometimes hot milk), rum or brandy, and sprinkled with nutmeg. The frothy, comforting drink is perfect for chasing away the cold of winter.
The invention of the Tom and Jerry cocktail is generally credited to British journalist Pierce Egan in the 1820’s. Mr. Egan wrote a book, and subsequent play, called Life in London, in which the main characters are named Tom and Jerry. It is believed that he introduced the cocktail as a way to promote his book and play. Jerry Thomas, who is considered the father of modern mixology, was known to claim that he invented the Tom and Jerry, and although he published a similar egg-based cocktail in his 1862 book How to Mix Drinks (or The Bon-Vivant’s Companion), most historians agree that Egan is the true originator.
The Tom and Jerry cocktail reached its height of popularity in the early to mid 1900’s and many manufacturers started creating special punch bowl sets specifically for serving the cocktail, identified by the words Tom and Jerry on the bowl. The drink has gained popularity again in recent years, but never really fell out of favor in the Mid-West, where you can find pre-made batter to make the drink easily at home.