The Story Behind The Tom and Jerry

Tired of sipping eggnog at holiday parties? The Tom and Jerry cocktail might be the festive tipple you’re craving.

While it shares some similarities with boozy nog, this batched cocktail omits the heavy cream. The inclusion of a dozen eggs in this recipe, alongside warm milk and baking spices, makes it an undoubtedly decadent holiday indulgence.

The Tom and Jerry’s origins stretch back to the early 1800s, when it is believed to have been invented by either British journalist Pierce Egan or famed bartender Jerry Thomas. (It’s rumored that the Tom & Jerry was created as a means to promote Thomas’s unrelated book, “Life in London: Or, The Day and Night Scenes of Jerry Hawthorn, Esq. and His Elegant Friend Corinthian Tom.”) While the warm drink fell behind eggnog in terms of national popularity, some northern Midwest states still treasure the delicious (yet tedious) drink.

While there are pre-made batters to be found, nothing beats the taste of a home-made fresh batch. The time-intensive recipe sees egg yolks and whites beaten separately until the yolks are light yellow and the whites are stiff. Sugar is then added to the yolks, folding in four ounces of rum. The mixture can be safely stored in the fridge for a few hours.

For the final step, one tablespoon of the batter and two ounces of brandy is stirred into warmed milk before enjoying. A sprinkle of nutmeg tops off the drink.

Plan ahead for this labor of love!


  • 12 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 bottle brandy
  • 1 bottle dark rum
  • Ground allspice, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg
  • 4-6 ounces milk (per serving)


  1. Beat the egg whites until stiff and set aside.
  2. Beat the egg yolks until they are light yellow. Add the sugar and mix well.
  3. Add a pinch of the spices to taste. Add 4 ounces of rum to the yolks, saving the rest of the bottle for individual servings. Fold this mixture into the egg whites.
  4. Set the milk to warm on the stove, ensuring it doesn't boil over.
  5. When ready to serve, place a tablespoon of the batter in a mug. Stir in another 2 ounces of brandy.
  6. Add the warm milk and stir to develop foam. Grate the fresh nutmeg on top.

Rate This Recipe:

(186 votes)

Yield: Varies
Calories: 270
Updated: 2022-12-22

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