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We’re not talking about the famous cat and mouse cartoon here; the Tom and Jerry drink is a cozy winter cocktail with warm spices that’s perfect for Christmas!

festive tom and jerry drink in glass mug

It’s easy to get caught up in the fast-paced whirlwind of the holidays, but I love vintage Christmas traditions. Things like mincemeat pie, Christmas caroling, cookie exchanges, and roasting chestnuts.

They aren’t nostalgic for me because they harken back to an era before my time (and likely before your time too!). But somehow, these traditions feel even more festive. And they make you slow down and be present in the moment.

Along those lines, enter this Tom and Jerry drink! If you like eggnog, I think you’ll love this. It’s a classic, and while there’s some debate as to when and where it was first made (I’ll get into that more later in this article), this festive Christmas cocktail is likely from Dickensian Victorian England. Talk about traditional!

overhead view of 2 mugs of tom & jerry christmas cocktail

What is a Tom and Jerry Drink?

This drink is a classic holiday libation that’s made with Tom and Jerry batter (think of it as liquid marshmallow with Christmas spices), warm milk, and rum, and garnished with nutmeg. I know what you’re thinking: what the heck is Tom & Jerry batter?!

The batter, my friends, is where the magic happens. It combines whipped egg whites with a beaten spiced butter, sugar, and egg yolk mixture. The resulting concoction is about as thick as cake batter, but with consistency similar liquid marshmallow.

The batter is kept in a separate bowl, and Tom and Jerry drinks are mixed individually as needed by combining the batter with warm milk and rum (or brandy or whiskey) in individual cups. (Side Note: You can often find Tom and Jerry punch bowl sets at vintage shops; a common manufacturer was Hazel Atlas, who made a milk glass set.) Once they’re mixed up, each drink is garnished with nutmeg for the coziest holiday cocktail ever.

And of course you can leave out the booze to make this classic Christmas drink family-friendly!

Christmastime Tom & Jerry Drink Ingredients and Substitutions

Ingredients Explained

In this section I explain the ingredients and give substitution ideas where applicable. For the full recipe (including the ingredient amounts), see the recipe card below.

tom and jerry batter and drink ingredients

Tom and Jerry Batter Ingredients

  • Eggs – make sure they’re at room temperature, and separate them into whites and yolks
  • Cream of tartar – to help stabilize the whipped egg whites
  • Salt – a natural flavor enhancer
  • Sugar – we use regular granulated white sugar as the sweetener here
  • Unsalted butter – for richness
  • Dark rum – for the Tom and Jerry drink, you can use dark rum, spiced rum, brandy, or whiskey; or you can just omit it if you prefer
  • Vanilla extract – for depth of flavor and aroma
  • Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves – this warm spice blend makes this drink festive and perfect for the holiday season

Tom and Jerry Drink Ingredients

  • Milk – I use whole milk, but you can use whatever your favorite milk is; you want to warm it to make this drink
  • Dark rum – just like in the Tom and Jerry batter recipe, you can use dark rum, spiced rum, brandy, or whiskey; or for a non-alcoholic Tom and Jerry, omit the rum and increase the milk
  • Tom and Jerry batter – this recipe makes about 2 cups of batter total; I keep the drinks on the small side (because like eggnog, it’s rich), and I use about 2 tablespoons of batter per drink
  • Freshly-grated nutmeg – for garnish

Raw Egg Consumption Warning

Please note that this recipe contains raw eggs that aren’t cooked before it’s consumed.

According to the USDA:

The USDA does not recommend eating raw shell eggs that are not cooked or are undercooked due to the possibility that Salmonella may be present.

USDA

You’ve probably noticed this food advisory on some restaurant menus: “Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness, especially if you have certain medical conditions.”

According to Cleveland Clinic “As long as it doesn’t have Salmonella in it, eating a raw egg is a harmless…” And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say “Pasteurized eggs have been heated to a high enough temperature for a long enough time to kill Salmonella.”

I encourage you to do your own research on this topic. If you have access to farm-fresh eggs and are comfortable consuming them raw, by all means. Otherwise, you might want to use pasteurized eggs or look for a raw egg alternative. (Note that you can find pasteurized eggs in the regular grocery store; the label should say if it’s pasteurized.)

Step-by-Step Instructions

How to Make Tom and Jerry Batter

how to make tom and jerry batter
  1. Add the egg whites to a medium bowl and use a handheld electric mixer to beat until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and salt, and continue beating until the egg whites form stiff peaks.
  2. To a large bowl, add the egg yolks, sugar, and butter, and use a handheld electric mixer to beat until creamy. Add the rum, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves, and beat until thick and smooth.
  3. Fold 1/3 of the egg white mixture to the egg yolk mixture at a time, being careful not to over-mix and completely deflate the egg whites.
  4. When you’re done it should have a thick texture similar to a fluffy cake batter (or liquid marshmallow!). Store Tom and Jerry cocktail batter covered in the fridge until serving.

How to Make a Tom and Jerry Drink

pouring tom and jerry batter into rum and milk

Heat a mug by filling it with hot water and then pouring the water out.

Add the warm milk, rum, and Tom and Jerry Batter to the warm mug. Lightly whisk until the drink is foamy.

Sprinkle on a little freshly-grated nutmeg.

Enjoy!

Storage

I’ve done a lot of research on this and some say you should use Tom and Jerry batter within 4 hours of making it, and others say you can keep it in the fridge for up to 1 week. Generally, I make it and serve it in the same day.

No matter how long you keep it, make sure you store it covered the fridge.

Also, note that the batter separates as it sits. Make sure to stir it before mixing up your individual drinks.

front view of glass mug with tom and jerry drink

Tom and Jerry Drink Recipe FAQs

Why Do They Call the Drink Tom and Jerry?

There is some debate as to the origin of this drink. However, many sources credit British journalist and writer Pierce Egan. In 1821, Egan authored the novel called The Day and Night Scenes of Jerry Hawthorn Esq. and his Elegant Friend Corinthian Tom, as well as the stage play Tom and Jerry, or Life in London.

It’s said that to publicize these literary works, Egan came up with a version of eggnog that fortified the drink with additional brandy. He called it a “Tom and Jerry”. And as you might expect, the additional alcohol made it wildly popular!

In 1862, “Professor” Jerry Thomas (a famous American bartender from New York City), authored the first bartender guide called How to Mix Drinks: or, The Bon-Vivant’s Companion. In the book, he shared his version of a Tom and Jerry, which he made with five pounds of sugar, a dozen eggs, and hot water instead of milk.

You can read more about the history of this drink on Wikipedia and What’s Cooking America.

hand holding old fashioned christmas cocktail over wooden table

What is the Difference Between Eggnog and Tom and Jerry Batter?

Eggnog and Tom & Jerry are both festive holiday drinks. They share a few similarities: they’re both sweet and creamy, and they both contain eggs and warm spices.

But there are also a few notable differences between these two Yuletide drinks.

Eggnog is an iconic Christmas beverage! It’s sweet, rich, thick, and spiced with nutmeg. And it’s typically served cold.

On the other hand, a Tom and Jerry cocktail harkens back to Christmas past, possibly Dickens-era London, although it has had a resurgence in popularity in mid-western states of the U.S. (especially Wisconsin and Minnesota). This drink is comprised of Tom and Jerry batter, which is a sweetly-spiced thick, creamy mixture that’s served mixed with rum and milk as a kind of warm Christmas punch.

The texture of a Tom & Jerry is a lot less thick than eggnog, and it has a foamy cap that forms when you stir the batter into the hot milk. Like eggnog, this old-fashioned Christmas cocktail contains nutmeg, but it also has a few other warm spices. And lastly, a Tom & Jerry is served hot, which (IMHO) makes it cozier than chilled eggnog.

small pitcher of tom and jerry batter

What is the Best Rum for a Tom and Jerry Drink?

That is based in large part on personal preference. You can use dark rum or spiced rum, and you aren’t even limited to rum! It’s also common to see brandy or whiskey used in this drink.

More Cozy Hot Cocktails to Try

tom & jerry drink with christmas ornaments and ribbon on dark wooden table

Let’s Connect

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Tom and Jerry Drink Recipe

Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time0 minutes
Yields: 16 servings
This drink is comprised of Tom and Jerry batter, which is a sweetly-spiced thick, creamy mixture that's served mixed with rum and milk as a kind of warm Christmas punch. If you like eggnog, you'll love it!

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Ingredients
 

Tom and Jerry Batter:

For Each Drink:

  • 4 ounces warm milk 4 ounces = 1/2 cup
  • 1 ounce dark rum 1 ounce = 2 tablespoons
  • 2 tablespoons Tom and Jerry Batter
  • Freshly-grated nutmeg for garnish

Instructions
 

To Make the Tom and Jerry Batter:

  • Add the egg whites to a medium bowl and use a handheld electric mixer to beat until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and salt, and continue beating until the egg whites form stiff peaks.
  • To a large bowl, add the egg yolks, sugar, and butter, and use a handheld electric mixer to beat until creamy. Add the rum, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves, and beat until thick and smooth.
  • Fold 1/3 of the egg white mixture to the egg yolk mixture at a time, being careful not to over-mix and completely deflate the egg whites. When you’re done it should have a thick texture similar to a fluffy cake batter (or liquid marshmallow!).
  • Store covered in the fridge until serving.

To Make Each Drink:

  • Heat a mug by filling it with hot water and then pouring the water out.
  • Add the warm milk, rum, and Tom and Jerry Batter to the warm mug. Lightly whisk until the drink is foamy.
  • Sprinkle on a little freshly-grated nutmeg.
  • Serve.

Video

Notes

  • Recipe Yield and Serving Size: This recipe for Tom and Jerry Batter makes about 2 cup s of batter. I use about 2 tablespoons of batter to make each drink, for a total of 16 servings.
  • Nutrition Information: The nutritional information for this recipe is given for 2 tablespoons of the Tom and Jerry Batter.

Nutrition

Calories: 76kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 34mg | Sodium: 21mg | Potassium: 21mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 89IU | Vitamin C: 0.02mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 0.2mg

Nutritional information is automatically calculated and should be used as an approximate.

Course: Drinks
Cuisine: British
Keyword: Tom & Jerry Drink, Tom and Jerry Batter, Tom and Jerry Batter Recipe, Tom and Jerry Cocktail, Tom and Jerry Cocktail Batter, Tom and Jerry Cocktail Recipe, Tom and Jerry Drink, Tom and Jerry Drink Recipe

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Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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