Mar 1, 2019

What's in a Name, Tom and Jerry

The Tom and Jerry drink has been a Christmas party staple in the American Midwest for many years. The drink begins with a frothy batter of separately beaten egg whites and yolks folded together and mixed with sugar, vanilla, and warm spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Cream of tartar is occasionally added to ensure the beaten egg whites maintain their stiff peaks. Drinkers add hot milk and rum or brandy (or both) into cocktail mugs and drop the creamy batter on top.

The Tom and Jerry origins are frequently traced back to a clever publicity stunt orchestrated by the British journalist Pierce Egan. The story goes that Egan added brandy to eggnog to create a signature cocktail to promote his 1821 book, Life in London, or The Day and Night Scenes of Jerry Hawthorn Esq. and His Elegant Friend Corinthian Tom.

No definitive records exist about the drink’s first appearance in the US, but in 1862, New York bartender Jerry Thomas published a recipe for a Tom and Jerry in his book, How to Mix Drinks Or The Bon-vivant’s Companion.

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