My first taste of booze, so many years ago, was a Tom & Jerry. I’m sure I’m not alone in this childhood memory, particularly among folks who grew up in Wisconsin, as I did.
This thick, creamy and potent punch, which is typically composed of eggs, sugar, butter, spices, vanilla and spirit, usually brandy or rum, dates to the early 1800s. Back then, the drink, similar to eggnog but served warm, was so common that it inspired a side trade in Tom & Jerry punch bowl sets. But after Prohibition, the yuletide tipple took a dive in popularity – everywhere but in the chilly Midwest. Lucky for us, Milwaukee is one of the few cities where one can still find multiple taverns and restaurants that serve the beverage.
You can’t sleep on this one, however. Tom & Jerry season is notoriously short, typically spanning from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. So ready, get thirsty, go!
Here are your targets:
Where: Von Trier
When: November 1 through closing date (for remodeling) in January.
What: The Tom & Jerry batter is made in house at this longtime German beer hall. Both rum and brandy are used in the mix.
Where: The Packing House
When: The week of Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day.
What: This popular supper club has been ladling out Tom & Jerrys since it opened in 1974.
Where: The Phoenix Cocktail Club
When: December only.
What: The recipe includes a blend of rums and a dash of Kringle Cream, a liqueur from Death’s Door Spirits that tastes like the kringle pastries.
Where: Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge
When: December weekends. Call for the schedule.
What: Uses a housemade batter and, because of the need for space to execute the drink, serves its Tom & Jerrys in the bar’s upstairs space.