Tom and Jerry (mixed drink)
|A Tom & Jerry as prepared at Karl Ratzsch's restaurant in Milwaukee, Wisconsin|
|Served||Straight up; without ice|
|Commonly used ingredients||
eggs or egg whites, sugar, brandy or rum
|Preparation||Mix egg and milk with rum|
|Notes||Served hot in a mug or bowl|
A Tom and Jerry is a traditional Christmastime cocktail in the United States, devised by British journalist Pierce Egan in the 1820s. It is a variant of eggnog with brandy and rum added and served hot, usually in a mug or a bowl.
Another method uses egg whites, beaten stiff, with the yolks and sugar folded back in, and vanilla extract added. A few spoonfuls are added to a mug, then hot water and rum are added, and it is topped with nutmeg.
A Tom and Jerry is served primarily in Wisconsin and Minnesota, and is difficult to find outside of the Upper Midwest or Northern Rocky Mountain region Pre-made Tom and Jerry batter, typically produced by Wisconsin manufacturers, is sold in regional supermarkets during the Christmas season.
The name is related neither to the popular MGM cartoon characters Tom and Jerry nor to the earlier Tom and Jerry cartoons by Van Beuren Studio, nor to famous bartender "Professor" Jerry Thomas, the author of one of the first bartender's guides, How to Mix Drinks (1862). Instead, it is a reference to Egan's book, Life in London, or The Day and Night Scenes of Jerry Hawthorn Esq. and his Elegant Friend Corinthian Tom (1821), and the subsequent stage play Tom and Jerry, or Life in London (also 1821).
To publicize the book and the play, Egan introduced a variation of eggnog by adding ½ fl oz of brandy, calling it a "Tom and Jerry". The additional fortification helped popularize the drink.
In popular culture
The drink features prominently in Damon Runyon's short story "Dancing Dan's Christmas", beginning with the passage
This hot Tom and Jerry is an old time drink that is once used by one and all in this country to celebrate Christmas with, and in fact it is once so popular that many people think Christmas is invented only to furnish an excuse for hot Tom and Jerry, although of course this is by no means true.
It is mentioned briefly in Yogi Yorgesson's song "I Yust Go Nuts at Christmas":
I look at my watch and midnight is near
I think I'll sneak off for a cold glass of beer
Down at the corner the crowd is so merry
I end up by drinking 'bout twelve Tom and Yerry
In the 1941 film The Great Mr. Nobody, a pair of characters are enjoying mugs of Tom and Jerrys in a bar on Christmas Eve and offer one to Eddie Arnold when he arrives. A big sign by the door advertises the drink as a yuletide special treat. It is also mentioned in the 1960 film The Apartment, with Jack Lemmon's character (preparing to loan out his apartment to his boss for a Christmas Eve sexual tryst) stating that "the Tom and Jerry mix is in the refrigerator."
- Cornell, Tricia, "The Best Tom and Jerry, Updated," Heavy Table, 2010.
- Faust, Eric, Tom and Jerry batter is seasonally available in the NY area, where a strong Swedish influence is prominent. "Connolly's Tom and Jerry Batter from Superior, WI," Heavy Table, 2009; See also Mrs. Bowen's Tom and Jerry Mix.
- Block, Stephen. "The History of Egg Nog". Food History. The Kitchen Project. Retrieved 2006-12-16.
- Runyon, Damon (1880-1946). Dancing Dan’s Christmas. The Damon Runyon Society.'.' Retrieved 2006-12-27.