There are a few cocktails that are on nearly everyone’s list come holiday party season. Some people serve poinsettias, some serve egg nog or glogg, but there’s one drink that carries on through the generations that is happily welcomed but rarely seen, Tom and Jerry Punch, sometimes referred to as Tom and Jerry Eggnog. There are many recipes out there for eggnog but this one is truly a vintage favorite.
The name of the cocktail dates farther back than the cartoon featuring Tom cat and his favorite rodent foe Jerry, but credits the name to a book written in 1820 by Pierce Egan, titled Life in London: The Day and Night Scenes of Jerry Hawthorn, Esq. and His Elegant Friend Corinthian Tom. The book chronicled the riotous adventures of two characters, Tom and Jerry, through short satirical stories that brought slang like “three sheets to the wind” from the conversations of sailors to the general public. The book was a smash hit, with many imitations popping up in the years to come as Tom and Jerry solidified their mark on pop-culture history. Mischievous and perhaps less than saintly characters and adventures were donned with new nick names; Tom and Jerry.
The first association with Tom and Jerry and alcohol was in 1832 at a shop in London referred to as a Tom and Jerry Shop, or beer shop. During this time, the drink showed up at holiday parties across London and back in the United States with several famed bartenders claiming credit. Since its creation, Tom and Jerry Eggnog has created a wide following; one that has only slowed in recent years. Should you not have had a Tom and Jerry before, chances are that were you to ask an older family member if they’ve had one the answer would be yes.
In the 1950s, punch bowl sets were made specifically for Tom and Jerry’s. Each bowl with matching glasses made its way on the holiday party circuit bringing warm frothy drinks to housewives and their guests, predominantly popular around the Great Lakes. These discontinued treasures vary in color, style and size, and can be easily found in antique stores and online auctions. There is a bar just off of Houston, in NoLita called Tom and Jerry’s that displays an impressive collection of punchbowls, paying homage to Christmas treat year round. Consider this winter-warming nog for your party this year and bring a little retro to your holiday season.
The drink itself is divine. Frothy, foamy, coffee, brandy and rum, what else does the holiday season need? Ah yes, a little nutmeg. As journalist Damon Runyon wrote in 1932, “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…”
Warm Whole milk and coffee (Some people substitute hot water, but coffee and milk add an unreal dimension)
Tom & Jerry Holiday Punch Recipe
- 5 eggs, separated
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 cup brandy, warmed
- 1 cup dark rum, warmed
- 1 tsp quality vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
In a large, clean bowl beat the egg whites. Add the powdered sugar gradually, beating until the whites begin to form stiff peaks.
In a separate bowl, beat the yolks, vanilla, allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg until combined. Carefully fold the yolk mixture into the egg whites.
Serve each drink by placing half a shot of brandy, half a shot of rum, and as much warm milk and coffee into the mug as you like. Top with frothy egg batter.
Garnish with fresh grated nutmeg and serve.