What makes Christmas in Wisconsin tick?

What makes Christmas in Wisconsin tick?

Tom and Jerry

The Tom and Jerry’s name doesn’t come from the cartoon — the drink’s history goes back to the mid-1800s, when it was likely invented as a promotional drink for a then-popular play. Ever since, Tom and Jerrys have become part of the holidays in many Wisconsin homes.

On the surface, this holiday cocktail seems like just another kind of eggnog, with its heavy emphasis on eggs, spices and alcohol. There are, however, a few important differences. A Tom and Jerry is served hot, and the egg whites are beaten several times throughout the process of making the batter, making the drink’s texture light and fluffy.

Otherwise, if you’re short on time, pre-mixed Tom and Jerry batter is available this time of year in many grocery stores. Just add hot water, rum, and brandy; for a non-alcoholic drink, you can use warm milk or tea instead.

For the Tom & Jerry Batter:

12 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
4 ounces (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 ounces dark rum

For One Tom & Jerry Drink:

1 to 2 tablespoons Tom & Jerry batter
1 ounce dark rum
1 ounce brandy, or cognac
4 to 6 ounces hot milk, or water, or both; to taste
Grated nutmeg, for garnish


To Make the Batter

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Tom & Jerry cocktail batter
  2. Separate the egg whites from the egg yolks and place them in separate bowls.

    Egg yolks and egg whites in two separate bowls
  3. Add the cream of tartar to the egg whites and whip with a mixer until you have a meringue-like texture with stiff peaks.

    Egg whites beaten to stiff peaks like meringue
  4. Add the softened butter and sugar to the bowl of egg yolks and whip until it is fully incorporated and a liquid.

    Softened butter and sugar added to egg whites
  5. Gently fold the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites.

    Egg yolks folded into egg white mixture for Tom & Jerry cocktail
  6. Stir in the cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, vanilla, and rum. Cover and store the batter in the refrigerator until it’s time to make the drink.

    Cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, vanilla, and rum added to cocktail batter

To Make the Tom & Jerry Drink

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for making the Tom and Jerry cocktail
  2. Preheat the mugs you will use for serving.

    Mug preheated with hot water
  3. Add 1 or 2 heaping tablespoons of the batter, along with 1 ounce each of dark rum and cognac (or brandy) to every mug.

    Spoonful of Tom & Jerry batter added to glass
  4. Fill with hot milk or hot water (or a combination of the two), stirring constantly until the drink is foamy.

    Tom & Jerry cocktail filled with hot milk
  5. Garnish with grated nutmeg. Serve and enjoy.

    Fresh grated nutmeg on a Tom & Jerry cocktail

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