Learn how to make a Christmas Tom and Jerry Cocktail, a traditional boozy holiday treat to share
A Tom and Jerry drink is a strong, delicious, warming drink with a long history and many fans!
Despite its quite innocent-sounding name, a Tom and Jerry Cocktail is definitely not a drink for kids: the opposite, actually!
A Tom and Jerry frink is best described as a more potent version of eggnog, a fun little winter warmer for grown-ups!
What is the origin of the Tom and Jerry cocktail?
The first mention of a Tom and Jerry drink dates back to 1820 and it is linked with author Pierce Egan.
Rumor has it that the drink was born as a way to promote Pierce Egan’s book “Life in London, or The Day and Night Scenes of Jerry Hawthorn Esq and his Elegant Friend Corinthian Tom“, subsequently a stage play “Tom and Jerry, or life in London” which, as the title suggests, has two main characters called Tom and Jerry.
The Tom and Jerry Cocktail enters the drinks scene as a boozy eggnog variation with brandy & rum, served hot.
Did you associate this drink with the Tom and Jerry cartoon? So did we, until we researched and learned about its origin! The Tom and Jerry cat and mouse duo came to life much later: originated in the 1930s and it is kid-friendly, unlike this drink!
Tom and Jerry Drink vs. Eggnog
A Tom and Jerry drink has a lot in common with traditional eggnog. However, in a Tom and Jerry cocktail, the taste of the egg is less pronounced while the kick of the alcohol is unmistakable, two characteristics that make a Tom and Jerry often more popular with grown-ups than its classic counterpart.
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Tools you will need for making a Tom & Jerry
- Mixer with a whisk attachment or handheld whisk
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring spoons
- Spatula for mixing
- Stirring spoon
- Grater for nutmeg garnish
- Heat-proof glass coffee cups, special Christmas mugs or mason jars to serve.
Tom and Jerry Cocktail ingredients and process
A Tom & Jerry Cocktail is similar to hot buttered rum in the need to create a spiced “batter” as the base. Therefore, it requires a bit of work!
Because of this, a Tom and Jerry is best prepared in advance rather than thought up on the spot!
However, it’s an easy drink to make as a large batch so we’ll give a party-sized recipe here – you can cut it down or double it up depending on how many you’re serving!
You can mix and play around with the added spices and boozy quantities.
Top tip! A quicker and easier brandy-based drink if you need to think on your feet with basic home bar ingredients is the Brandy Alexander.
Ingredients for the spiced batter of a Tom and Jerry drink:
125g/1 stick of butter (softened)
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
60ml dark rum
Tom and Jerry drink liquid ingredients:
1 tbsp of the batter
30ml dark rum
Garnish with ground nutmeg
How to make a Tom and Jerry cocktail: step by step process:
Separate your egg yolks and egg whites
Add your egg whites to a mixer and add the cream of tartar.
Blend gently until you have a meringue-like mixture with stiff peaks
Separately, add your softened butter and sugar to the bowl of egg yolks and whip
With a spatula, gently fold the egg yolks in with the egg whites.
Stir in your cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and vanilla. The batter can now be stored covered in the fridge until ready to use
Pre-heat the mugs/cups you will use to serve. Pre-heat your desired quantity of milk (approximately 125ml/4oz per mug)
To each mug, add a heaped tablespoon of the batter
Add 30ml/1 oz each of dark rum and brandy to each mug
Fill each mug with hot milk, stirring until foamy
Garnish with nutmeg
- For the spiced batter
- 12 eggs
- 125g/1 stick of butter (softened)
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 60ml dark rum
- For the drink
- 1 tbsp of the batter
- 30ml dark rum
- 30ml cognac
- 125ml milk
- Garnish with ground nutmeg
- Separate your egg yolks and egg whites
- Add your egg whites to a mixer and add the cream of tartar (or you can hand whisk). Blend gently until you have a meringue-like mixture with stiff peaks
- Separately, add your softened butter and sugar to the bowl of egg yolks and whip
- With a spatula, gently fold the egg yolks in with the egg whites
- Stir in your cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and vanilla
- The batter can now be stored cover in the fridge until ready to use
- Pre-heat the mugs/cups you will use to serve
- Pre-heat your desired quantity of milk (approximately 125ml/4oz per mug)
- To each mug, add a heaped tablespoon of the batter
- Add 30ml/1 oz each of dark rum and brandy to each mug
- Fill each mug with hot milk, stirring until foamy
- Garnish with nutmeg
We have used British ml, to convert use approximately 30ml = 1 oz
Please note this recipe contains RAW EGG - beware of allergies and foodborne illness.
Further variations on the Tom & Jerry
Brandy or cognac?
Our classic recipe calls for cognac, but as we discussed in our guide to cognac, it is still a type of brandy. There is no harm in interchangeably using a different type of brandy, it doesn’t need to be top-shelf mixed in a cocktail.
We have suggested using dark rum but another brilliant way to serve your Tom & Jerry is with spiced rum, yum!
Milk or water?
If you are not a huge fan of hot milky drinks, the milk can be substituted, either for low-fat skinny milk or even hot water will suffice but obviously give you a slightly different end taste.
How sweet do you like it?
We’ve seen recipes that recommend DOUBLE the quantity of sugar is added to the batter. It’s up to you but we have found this too sweet.
How do you like it served?
Our recipe would suggest a small coffee cup-sized serve, however, we know some like their Tom & Jerry big, creamy and piled up high!
You could try mason jars with straws instead and simply double the quantity in each serve (just noting this then makes for one very large, boozy mug full! Drink Responsibly.
The Tom & Jerry is a bit of a retro hit on the cocktail circuit but nonetheless, we think a great one to have in your Christmas Cocktail repetoire!
More Christmas drink ideas
As well as checking out our complete guide to Christmas cocktails, you may also be interested in our Christmas gift guides for drink-lovers. We cover everything from stylish glassware for your drinks cabinet through to our favourite gifts for coffee-lovers.
If you’re still seeking out that perfect gift idea or stocking stuffer, pop on over for some inspiration here >>
Mama Loves A Drink advocates quality over quantity. Always drink responsibly!