Tom & Jerry – Original 1862 Jerry Thomas Recipe

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Tom & Jerry Batter

Tom and Jerry batter is basically an egg yolk and Christmas spice flavored mousse. It’s actually not too bad and pretty good on its own. Now I will say that the recipe here is the original mid 1800s Jerry Thomas recipe and you will most likely not find anyone who makes it this way. Most every recipe has been updated a bit an now include butter or heavy creams, additional spices and are much denser. Those versions of Tom and Jerry batter can be bought in stores during the holiday season in the upper midwest, where the drink is still pretty popular. I won’t lie, the more modern butter version is better for making the drink but the old fashion mousse one is great if you just wanted to dig in and eat it as is. Which I did do, I made the drink for the photo and then ate the whole mousse by myself. Your arteries might not last the night if you tried to eat the butter and heavy cream ones with a spoon.

Tom & Jerry Batter Recipe

This is actually 1/2 the amount of the recipe printed in his 1962 book. The original recipe makes a massive amount of batter so I cut it in half. If you need more just double this recipe.

  • 6 Eggs
  • 4 cups (1 kg) of sugar
  • 1 oz (30 mLs) gold rum
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5 g) ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5 g) ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5 g) ground cinnamon

Separate the egg whites and yolks. Add the spices and sugar to the egg whites and beat the whites to a stiff meringue. Beat the egg yolks to thin them out a bit and then fold them in with the meringue.

Eggnog vs. Tom & Jerry

The Tom and Jerry is often compared to a lighter eggnog but it all depends on which recipe of a Tom and Jerry you are comparing to which recipe of eggnog. If you are comparing a store bought Tom and Jerry to store bough eggnog, then yes, they do taste similar. Most eggnogs today are made with cooked eggs and heavy cream and the result is a thick boozy custard. Its a very heavy drink and a Tom and Jerry with heated milk is much lighter with a similar in flavor.

For the sake of comparing apples to apples, if you compare a mid 1800s eggnog recipe to this mid 1800s Tom and Jerry recipe then they are completely different. This original Tom and Jerry recipe taste as if a hot toddy and a cappuccino had a baby. The top has a nice foam to it similar to a cappuccino but the warm liquid taste like an old fashion style hot toddy. A mid 1800s, no cook, eggnog taste like a cool rich milk punch. Very flavorful but with a normal milk like body, not like the viscus ones most of us know. So to sum it up the modern version of both drinks are similar, with the Tom and Jerry being a warm thinner version of eggnog, but the older version of both drinks I provide here are totally different.

Honestly I didn’t care for this drink all that much. I followed the recipe to a T and I found the drink a bit too light, not bad, but I personally found it flat. Although my wife loved it. She felt the flavor and body were great and the foam on top reminded here of a cappuccino. Traditionally the drink uses warm water but warm milk taste better and made the drink more appealing to me. Try making one with water and one with milk and see which version you prefer.

History Of The Tom & Jerry

Jerry Thomas most likely invented the Tom & Jerry since there is no reference to it till Jerry Thomas published his recipe. The cocktail is often credited to being invented by him anyway. The story goes that he named the drink after his two pet mice, Thomas and Jerry, which he named after himself. Even Savoy credits him with inventing it and the Savoy is pretty on point.

While the Tom & Jerry seems to fade a bit in the 1930s its still in the larger cocktail books up through the 1970s (I try to limit this project to only published literature from 1970 and earlier). Victor Bergeron in his 1972 book even gives a single serve recipe if one needs to be made on the spot. The Tom & Jerry is a very preparation and labor intensive drink so I feel this is relegated to be more of a home holiday party cocktail and I have never once seen this at a bar ever.

When I first heard of this cocktail I wondered if the iconic MGM cat and mouse cartoon Tom and Jerry were named after it. Unfortunately no one knows if the cartoon famous Cat and Mouse duo Tom and Jerry were named after the drink, but it would be quite the coincidence. Joseph Barbara, of Hanna Barbara, wrote in his autobiography “My Life in Toons” how they came up with the names Tom and Jerry. “We left the choice of names to chance. We invited studio personnel to write down pairs of names on pieces of paper and toss them into a hat. We shook the hat and drew Tom and Jerry, which had been submitted by an animator named John Carr. He won fifty dollars.” Maybe John Carr knew the drink from a holiday party, who knows, they are all long gone now.


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Tom & Jerry – Original 1862 jerry Thomas Recipe

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Learn how to make a Tom & Jerry Cocktail.


  • 1/2 oz Tom & Jerry Batter

  • 2 oz Brandy

  • 4 – 5 oz Water


  • Drop batter into a ceramic or heat resistant mug.
  • Add warm water and stir till the batter is completely incorporated into the water.
  • Lastly add the spirit and give a couple last stirs to finish mixing the drink.
  • Garnish with a dusting of nutmeg.

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