Tom and Jerry cocktail will take you back to Christmases past

Todd A. Price
Southern Kitchen
Jewel of the South serves a Tom and Jerry and other warm drinks during the holidays. (Courtesy of Jewel of the South)

This is part of Southern Kitchen's 12 Days of Cookies and Cocktails series, which runs daily through Christmas Eve. Each day, we'll pair fun and festive cocktails with classic cookie recipes. This classic Tom and Jerry begs to be served with Pecan Sandies. Get the recipe.

About the recipe

The first sip is cold and creamy. Then the warm rum and brandy hits your throat. The Tom and Jerry has become a holiday staple for bartender Chris Hannah, head bartender and partner at New Orleans' Jewel of the South.

Hannah, who led New Orleans' French 75 Bar when it won a James Beard Award in 2017 for outstanding bar program, discovered the drink in 1927 book "Barflies and Cocktail." He had never tasted it before, even though the Tom and Jerry has been around since the 19th century. Now Hannah has made it his holiday mission to introduce more drinkers to the Tom and Jerry.

"I have so many people who always come back and have their Tom and Jerry in December," he said.

Once the batter is made, each drink is assembled to order.

This old-fashioned cocktail pairs well with classic Christmas cookies like these Pecan Sandies.

Batter serves: 8 to 10 cocktails

More:Pecan Sandies: A melt-in-your-mouth Christmas tradition


Tom and Jerry batter

6 eggs

1 1/4 cup sugar

4 ounces heavy cream (optional)

1 teaspoon vanilla 

2 teaspoons ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Individual cocktail ingredients

1/2 ounce Jamaican rum (Myer's Rum is a good choice)

1 ounce brandy or whiskey

3 to 4 ounces hot water or milk


Tom and Jerry batter

Separate eggs and beat whites first. Once the whites start to form peaks add 3/4 cup sugar slowly and then the cream of tartar. Add yolks and beat then add remaining sugar, vanilla and grate the nutmeg or add grated nutmeg. Add cream, if using, and beat.

Chris Hannah of New Orleans ranks among the nation's most celebrated bartenders. (Courtesy of Jewel of the South)

The batter will fall a little after the cream but that is normal. Pour the batter into a container and chill in refrigerator for at least an hour. The batter can be made a day in advance. (Pro tip: Any leftover batter can be used for French toast the next day or added to eggnog.)

Individual cocktail

Begin to heat water or milk. Pour the Jamaican rum into a mug and add the brandy or whiskey. Add a tablespoon of the Tom and Jerry batter and stir in the mug. Add 3 to 4 ounces piping hot water or milk and stir. Then ladle 3 tablespoons of batter over the hot mixture so that each sip has a mix of the cool batter and hot beverage. Grate more nutmeg on top and then enjoy.

Two customers toast with Tom and Jerry cocktails on the patio of the Jewel of the South in New Orleans. (Courtesy of Jewel of the South)