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Tom & Jerry Batter

Oakland Art Novelty Company’s rum-spiked recipe.

When winter descends on Detroit, those in the know don their heavy coats and make their way to The Oakland Art Novelty Company, where the classic Tom & Jerry is proffered at the first sign of snow. “The Tom & Jerry has become an integral part of our winter seasons,” says Sandy Levine, the bar’s owner. Made using a rum-spiked, egg-based batter, the steaming drink emerged as a cold-weather staple in New England around 1820. Here’s how they make the Tom & Jerry batter at the bar. And head here for Levine’s house version of the Tom & Jerry cocktail.


  • 12 eggs
  • 1 oz. Jamaican rum (Oakland Novelty uses Two James Doctor Bird)
  • 1½ tsp. ground cloves
  • 1½ tsp. ground allspice
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground anise seeds
  • 2 lbs. cane sugar
  • Tools:whisk, large bowl, medium bowl, rubber spatula


Separate the eggs, placing the whites in a large bowl and the yolks in a medium bowl. Use a whisk to beat the egg yolks until combined. Drizzle in the rum, whisking constantly to incorporate. Using a whisk, beat the egg whites by hand until they form stiff peaks. Slowly fold the yolk mixture into the whites using a rubber spatula, adding about a third at a time. Begin adding the spices as you continue folding, until the entire mixture is well-blended. Once combined, slowly add the sugar to thicken the mixture, constantly stirring with the spatula until a thick, batter-like consistency is reached. Transfer the batter to a serving bowl and use immediately to make Tom & Jerrys, ladling out the mixture to prepare the drinks individually.

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