A traditional boozy holiday treat to share
Despite its quite innocent-sounding name, it’s actually what can best be described as a more potent version of eggnog! A fun little winter warmer think of it as a creamy winter punch – for grown-ups!
It is believed this classic Christmas concoction dates back to the 1820s and a book by Pierce Egan “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” where the drink is referenced – a variation on eggnog with brandy & rum added, served hot; the Tom and Jerry cat and mouse duo originated from the 1930’s – a play on words or just a coincidence?
Many adults prefer it over eggnog as the egg flavour is less pronounced and it’s served warm – and intentionally boozy! It is also similar in its construct to hot buttered rum in the need to create a spiced “batter” as the base.
Either way, it’s a drink best made in a batch so we’ll give a party-sized recipe here – you can cut it down or double it up depending how many you’re serving!
There’s a bit of work needs to go into making the “batter” so it’s one best prepared in advance rather than thought up on the spot! You can mix and play around with the added spices and boozy quantities. A quicker and easier brandy-based drink if you need to think on your feet with basic home bar ingredients is the Brandy Alexander.
Can’t make it now? Save this to Pinterest for later
As Amazon affiliates, we earn from qualifying purchases.
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
- Heat-proof serving jug
- Grater for nutmeg garnish
- Heat-proof glass coffee cups, special Christmas mugs or mason jars to serve.
- 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 spatular, 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 to interchangeable use a different type of brandy, it doesn’t need to be top-shelf mixed in a cocktail.
We have suggested using a 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!