Let's Go Tom and Jerrying
Don’t put away your cookie-making supplies just yet! Add one more quick batter into your lineup, and you’ll be all set for your post-holiday dinner dessert cocktails, too!
Meet the Tom and Jerry – nope, not actually named after the cartoon cat and mouse. This particular Tom and Jerry dates back to the early 1820s, most likely originating in the New England area. This hot, soul-warming, batter-based cocktail was downed by 19th Century Americans like it was going out of style. A phrase of the time, to “go Tom and Jerrying” meant to have a raucous night out. You can imagine the shenanigans that ensued after imbibing a few of these! Although not widely popular today, we’re told that folks in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest still enjoy Tom and Jerrys during the holiday season.
The Tom and Jerry was also likely the first cocktail to have its own barware created specifically for it. Traditionally served out of a bowl and into cups emblazoned with “Tom and Jerry” on them, it’s rare to find an original surviving set today. However, the mid-century version (circa 1950s, produced by the Hazel-Atlas company) are cute as heck and pretty easy to snag in antique stores now. In fact, we picked up our own set this year, because, I mean…it’s a delightful mid-century piece of ephemera!
This cocktail requires a bit of up-front work, but then it’s easy to assemble when it’s time to enjoy it. You’ll need to first make a batter, then top it with booze and hot milk to build the cocktail. Also, the batter is delicious. Like super good. So good, in fact, that you might want to eat it with a spoon straight out of the fridge in the middle of the night in your pajamas. Not that we’ve done that. Ahem. Moving on.
A few quick notes about our recipe:
The existing specs out there vary wildly, especially around the quantity of eggs and sugar needed. After testing, we’ve Frankenstein-ed this version into what we think is the tastiest and most balanced cocktail.
This will serve a large home gathering, around 25-30 folks. If you want to adjust for your own crowd size, just scale the ratios up or down.
You’ll need to beat egg whites, essentially creating the basis of a meringue, so be careful not to over-beat them! If you’re unfamiliar with the process, we like this piece from Food52 about whipping perfectly stiff egg whites.
So, whip up this delicious batter while making your cookies today – you’ll be glad you did. So glad that you might want to go Tom and Jerrying afterwards!
Tom and Jerry Batter
2 non-reactive bowls
Hand or stand mixer (you can use a whisk, but trust us…don’t.)
Lidded storage container
3 large eggs, separated into yolks and whites
1 cup sugar
¼ oz. dark rum (½ tablespoon)
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
Separate eggs into yolks and whites, each into their own non-reactive bowl. Using a hand or stand mixer, beat the yolks until well-combined. Continue to beat the yolks while slowly adding in sugar, rum, cinnamon, vanilla, cloves, and allspice until well-combined into a thick batter.
Add cream of tartar into the egg whites. Using clean beaters/paddle, whip the egg white mixture until stiff peaks form, being careful not to over-beat. Gently fold the whites into the yolk mixture, until well-combined. You should have a fluffy, silky batter. Transfer into a storage container, seal it completely, and store in the fridge until ready to serve. (It will last a couple days.)
Tom and Jerry Cocktail
1-2 tablespoons Tom and Jerry batter *
1 oz. aged rum
1 oz. cognac
Whole milk, hot, to top (around 4 oz.) **
Garnish: ground nutmeg
* If you made the batter ahead and stored it, it might separate a bit in the fridge. You can whip it a bit before serving to recombine the ingredients.
** You can use hot water, or a combination of hot water and whole milk, if you prefer, or are trying to slim down the calorie count. But using whole milk will result in the tastiest, most decadent drink!
Preheat a mug by pouring boiling water into it and set aside while you assemble the ingredients. Warm milk in a small saucepan until hot but not boiling. Discard the water from the mug, and add batter, rum, cognac, and hot milk, stirring constantly until frothy. Garnish with ground nutmeg over the top. Sip & enjoy!
Wishing you the happiest of holidays!