David Wondrich’s Tom & Jerry

David Wondrich | Brooklyn, NY

“It’s really not good for you,” says David Wondrich of the excessively rich 19th-century drink known as the Tom & Jerry. “But it’s just so freaking delicious.” This recipe makes a lot of Tom & Jerries—at least 50, although you might need more milk to get there. Wondrich notes that any leftovers can easily be turned into eggnog by mixing two parts batter with two parts milk and one or two parts booze, plus grated nutmeg, then bottle and refrigerate.



  • 12 eggs
  • 1 1/2 pounds white sugar
  • 1 bottle VSOP cognac
  • 1 bottle rich Jamaican rum, preferably Plantation Xaymaca
  • 2 quarts whole milk
  • 1 whole nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Garnish: grated nutmeg

  1. Prepare the spice mix by combining the cinnamon, allspice and cloves.
  2. Separate the eggs.
  3. Put the whites into a non-reactive (stainless steel, ceramic, plastic or glass) bowl and beat them into stiff peaks. You can do this by hand but an electric egg-beater really is your friend here. 
  4. In your Tom & Jerry Bowl (or, of course, other ceramic bowl), beat the yolks, gradually incorporating 2 ounces of the rum and the spice mix (this one is best to do by hand). When they are completely liquid, gradually add the sugar (it seems like a lot; trust us, it’s needed), stirring until the mixture attains the consistency of a light batter.
  5. Carefully fold the whites into the yolks until thoroughly incorporated. To prevent separation, add the cream of tartar. Keep this batter refrigerated until needed. It will probably need a quick whip before use.
  6. Bring the milk to a low simmer.
  7. Put a heaping tablespoon (20 ml) of the batter in a small mug or tumbler and stir in around half an ounce each of the cognac and the rum (these can be pre-mixed for speed). You don’t have to measure precisely, but if you add too much more than you’ll lose the ideal velvety texture that makes Tom & Jerry so irresistible.
  8. Add two ounces or so hot milk and stir until you get foam.
  9. Garnish with fresh nutmeg.

Tagged: Tom and Jerry