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Tom & Jerry: traditional holiday cheer in a cup

Each year around Christmas, it is traditional to make candy … lots and lots of candy. Growing up, my mom filled at least a dozen tins with fudge, peanut brittle, chocolate covered peanuts and all sorts of confections to enjoy through the holiday season.

And while it’s a wonderful tradition (especially when your a kid with a huge sweet tooth), it’s a lot of work.

So if you are one to commit that much time to baking goodies this season, then the following cocktail recipe shouldn’t seem so difficult to craft — though it takes many more steps than your standard rum and coke.

The Tom & Jerry cocktail dates back to the 19th century (yes, well before the cartoon of the same name). Though legendary bartender Jerry Thomas took credit for creating and naming the drink, there is evidence that it was around before his heyday. The exact origin of this creamy and decadent cold weather punch is a little murky. And were it not for modern day bartenders reaching back in the annals of cocktail history, as well as the signature Tom & Jerry bowl and mugs occasionally found in antique stores, this recipe might have been forever lost.

For holiday parties, this is a showstopper that easily trumps holiday standards like mulled wine or egg nog. Sure, those are a bit easier to make, but when you think of how much time your putting into filling tins with holiday sweets, the Tom & Jerry is a cinch. And since you are already in the kitchen, you’ll need a good cocktail to help with the process.

Tom & Jerry

8 eggs

1 tsp. Vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. Cream of Tartar

1 1/2 cups Powdered sugar

1 oz Cognac

1 oz Dark rum

1/2 Gallon Frothed whole milk


Separate the eggs. Add sugar and vanilla to the eggs yolks and whisk until smooth. Pour into a large serving bowl. Add cream of tartar to the egg whites and whisk until soft peaks form. Fold whites into the yolks in the bowl. To serve, fill mugs with boiling water and let sit for a minute to warm the cups. Pour out the water and add four ounces of the batter to each cup, followed by one ounce each of cognac and rum. Top with hot milk, then a bit of froth. Grate fresh nutmeg on top and watch your guests get happy.

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