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Tom and Jerry

Beat the egg whites in one bowl until stiff. Beat the egg yolks in a second bowl until they are as thin as water. Mix the egg whites and yolks together and add the spices and rum. Beat in the sugar until the mixture resembles a light batter.

To serve, pour 1 oz of brandy, 1 oz of aged rum, a tablespoon of batter into a mug. Stir with the tablespoon. Pour 3 or 4 oz of hot water into a mug and stir with the tablespoon until it is clean of batter. Grate some nutmeg on top.

Prep Time 2 minutes
Servings 12
Category Egg Nog
Tags 1775-1840 (Pre-Cocktail), Elegant, Obscure, Winter Drink
Proof 22.9
Strength 1.4 standard drinks
Glass Coffee Mug
Temp Hot

The Tom and Jerry comes to us from Jerry Thomas, author of what is recognized as the first drink recipe book, The Bartender's Guide. The book dates back to 1862, so this drink is about 150 years old. 

This is a wonderful drink that is well worth the effort necessary to make it. Stir the batter before you prepare each drink, as the sugar will quickly go to the bottom. I use VS Cognac instead of brandy in mine. 

You can make a batch of the batter and freeze it in canning jars. Thaw a jar in cold water. Put on a pot of hot water, break out the brandy and rum, and you'll soon be sipping a Tom and Jerry without having to make a mess with the beater. 

Be careful when adding the hot water. You want the rum and brandy to already be mixed with the batter before you pour in the hot water. The liquor insulates the batter from the shock of the hot water. If the hot water hits the batter directly, it can curdle the eggs, and you'll have little curdled egg bits in your drink. 

Jerry Thomas's recipe calls for a larger batch of batter:

  • 5 lbs sugar
  • 12 eggs
  • 2 oz Jamaica rum
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

Here are some other notes from his book: 

Adepts at the bar, in serving Tom and Jerry, sometimes adopt a mixture of 1/2 brandy, 1/4 Jamaica rum, and 1/4 Santa Cruz rum, instead of brandy plain. This compound is usually mixed and kept in a bottle, and a wine-glassful is used to each tumbler of Tom and Jerry. A tea-spoonful of cream of tartar, or about as much carbonate of soda as you can get on a dime, will prevent the sugar from settling to the bottom of the mixture. This drink is sometimes called Copenhagen, and sometimes Jerry Thomas.

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