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It's Tom & Jerry Time

December 18, 2016




The first time I was introduced to a Tom & Jerry was at one of Chicago’s hidden culinary treasures, Miller’s Pub. Located under the “EL” line on the edges of the loop, Miller’s is as old school Chicago as one gets; with a bar full of patrons by 10am and a kitchen that serves full steak dinners till 2am, the large dinning room and bar re always inviting and comfortable to anyone who may wander in. Years ago, around the holiday season, we had seen signs announcing that Tom & Jerrys were back and after inquiring with our waitress we ordered around. The fluffy “pillow” of warm spices with an underlying punch of rum and brandy was nothing short of amazing and with a limit availability, only Thanksgiving Through New Years, the drink became in even that more special.


It would be years before I attempted to make my own and another five or so before I even thought of putting one on a menu at a busy bar. But with some refining, I have found that the below recipe works well for bar as well as home applications.


But the real trick is serving them in vintage Tom & Jerry mugs ladled from the accompanying punch bowl. These sets are surprisingly easy to find at great prices on Etsy and Ebay, with many of them claiming to have been made in post WWII “occupied” Japan. 



Tom & Jerry 


Prep Time: 15 Minutes


This recipe will yield about 2 quarts of batter or enough for about 24 servings 


Ingredients Needed:


12 eggs, separated (room temp)

1 cup powdered sugar, divided in half

1 cup light brown sugar

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground clove

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon cream of tarter, separated in half

2 pinches Kosher Salt

whole Nutmeg



Tools Needed:

2 Mixing Bowls

Spatula or large mixing spoon

Whisk or electric hand mixer

Measuring cups

Measuring spoons



Step 1


Let the eggs sit until they reach room temp. Then separate the eggs into two mixing bowls.



Step 2: Yolks


Beat the yolk with a spatula or mixing spoon until watery, then slowly incorporate the following:


½  cup powdered sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground clove

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 

¼  teaspoon cream of tarter

1 pinch salt


Mix until well incorporated




Step 3: White


To the egg whites add:

¼  teaspoon cream of tarter

1 pinch salt


Beat until stiff peaks start to form, then slowly add ½  cup powdered sugar



Step 4: Combine


Slowly spoon egg whites into the batter and stir to incorporate.




Preparing for Service


Some decisions need to be made before serving a Tom & Jerry.


Base Spirit

First you need to decide on your base spirit of choice. Rum, Cognac, or a combination of both is great, but within those there are several options so play around with rums and brandies.


I like to pre-mix a combination of


1 Part (1/4 oz) Cruzan Black Strap

2 Parts (1/2 oz) Botron Reserva (other options could be Bacardi 8 year or El Dorado 5 yr)

2 Parts (1/2 oz) Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac


Total Pour per cocktail is 1.25 oz.


Water or Milk

Secondly, do you want to add hot milk or hot water to the drink? As you would imagine, water would create a lighter (if that is the word to use for a Tom and Jerry) and milk a richer, thicker drink. I prefer milk but only if making all the drinks at once. It is difficult to keep milk warm over a long period of time, or to keep reheating it, and so for a more practical use, especially behind a bar, I often use water.


Behind the bar, use an electric heating kettle or an air-pot.




Finally, how will you serve the Tom & Jerry?  Traditional serving cups and bowls are abundant on the internet, especially through Ebay and Etsy.


For a home party, definitely make the small investment in the bowl and place the batter in there.


For the bar, I still use the cups but place the batter in squeeze bottles with the nozzle well trimmed back.



To Serve


1. Fill the mug 1/3 of the way with batter (this can vary on personal preference, and whether you are using water or milk will make a difference as well.) but it will be about 2.5 to 3 ounces. 


2. Add 1.25 oz of base spirit to a mug. Remember that hot drinks exaggerate the “feel” of alcohol on the nose and palate, so it is critical to not add too much alcohol or the drink will feel extremely boozy and take a way from the drinker’s experience.


3. Fill with hot water or milk, stir.


4. Grate nutmeg across the top.





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