The tradition of Tom and Jerrys

The holiday season is filled with traditions, and some we see reflected on film.

One tradition I learned about from film is drinking the holiday beverage, Tom and Jerry.

In the film BEYOND TOMORROW (1940), three elderly businessmen live together and celebrate Christmas Eve. George Melton (Harry Carey), Allan Chadwick (C. Aubrey Smith) and Michael O’Brien (Charles Winninger) drink celebratory Tom and Jerry beverages. The three men then decide to toss three wallets out into the street and whoever returns the wallet will join them in Christmas dinner.

Prior to watching this film, I had never heard of a Tom and Jerry — which are not related to the cat and mouse cartoon characters — and I’ve wanted to try them myself.

A Tom and Jerry is a warm brandy Christmas cocktail, which is sort of similar to eggnog. The drink may date back to 1821 and British writer Pierce Egan’s book “Life in London.”

Inspired by BEYOND TOMORROW, I finally tried making this drink myself. After researching several recipes online, I went with the recipe, which yields a smaller batch.

Some recipes make larger quantities and included using a pound of butter and a dozen eggs.


My attempt at a Tom and Jerry

The recipe involves making a batter, which is spooned on top of the cocktail. Here is the recipe from
Tom and Jerry batter:
• Separate 3 egg yolks and whites and set aside.
• In a nonreactive bowl, whip the egg whites with 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar until stiff peaks form.
• In a separate bowl, beat the yolks with 1 cup of sugar, 1/2 ounce Jamaican dark rum and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract.
• When the yolk mixture is completely combined, gently fold it into the egg white mixture. Keep refrigerated.

Cocktail Ingredients:
• Boiling water, to rinse mug
• 1 ounce dark rum
• 1 ounce cognac
• 1 tablespoon Tom & Jerry batter
• Whole milk, hot, to top
• Garnish with nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and/or allspice.

As always, if you decide to try this recipe, please drive responsibly.

The drink was potent, but not bad.

In my research for the recipe, most batter recipes simply mentioned using “sugar” while only one mentioned using confectioner sugar. If I make this drink again, I will use confectioner sugar. Using standard sugar made for a grainy batter. After making this, I later ran across our friend the Caftan Woman’s blog and I should have followed her recipe.

I can’t say I’ll add this drink to my list of holiday traditions, but I did enjoy thinking of BEYOND TOMORROW and copying an old tradition.

tom and jerry time ann miller

Ann Miller, Vera-Ellen, Johnny Johnston, Kathryn Grayson and Robert Stack at Miller’s Christmas party. Source: Photoplay, Dec. 1949

Check out the Comet Over Hollywood Facebook page, follow on Twitter at @HollywoodComet or e-mail at

Thank you for reading! What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.