Tom & Jerry: A Harmonious Holiday Treat
(Unlike the Cat & Mouse of the Same Name)

What's a holiday without a little nostalgia? Or for that matter, without a specialty drink. And even better, a nostalgic, semi-obscure regional drink that inspired its own punch bowl serving sets?

That's what you get with a Tom & Jerry, a Midwest-centric (Wisconsin seems to be its popularity epicenter) cousin of the more universally known eggnog. It's milky thick, rich and sugary, but it has a flexible recipe you can use to amp up or dial down any of its qualities.

There is no definitive recipe for a great Tom & Jerry. The variations reflect diverse tastes and inventions, like adding coffee in place of some of the milk or adjusting the amount of sugar and/or spices. The core of the recipe, though, is always eggs, sugar, spices and spirits – usually brandy and rum. Here's a basic recipe from to start. Adjust, experiment and above all share:

Ingredients for 24 servings: 12 eggs, 1-1/4 cup of confectioners sugar | 20 ounces of rum and/or brandy (proportion to preference) | 1-1/2 gallons of milk (whole is best but reduced fat can work, too) | spices to taste including nutmeg, allspice and/or cinammon.

Directions: Separate egg whites from yolks in two bowls. Using a whisk or mixer, whip the egg WHITES until frothy, and then slowly add and whisk in 3/4 cup of the sugar until the mixture forms stiffened peaks | Add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and spices (pinches to taste) to the egg YOLKS and beat while adding 4-6 tablespoons of spirits (brandy and/or rum). Blend thoroughly until the mixture is light yellow. | Combine the two egg mixtures by folding the egg whites into the egg yolks. Set aside in a cool location or refrigerate depending on how ready you are to serving. | Use a large stock [pot to heat the milk without bringing it to a boil – just to the point of small bubbles forming at the edge of the pot. Then reduce the heat but keep the milk hot. | For serving, use cups that are at least at room temperature. Add ingredients in this order: 2-3 tablespoons of spirits followed by a heaping tablespoon of the combined egg mixture. Add hot milk to fill the cup but leave enough room for another dollop of the egg mixture. Then add spices to taste.

Recipe courtesy of Neal Kielar, Tastemaker in Residence

See the fabulous serving sets under Decor