A recipe for the Tom and Jerry from the San Francisco Call, June 30, 1912.
Over on Facebook, Christopher McPherson asked whether the Tom and Jerry was named for the MGM cartoon characters. I said I suspected the opposite was true, rather like Disney’s Chip ‘n’ Dale being named for Chippendale furniture.
All the old newspaper stories give credit for the drink to bartender Jerry Thomas, who according to one account was born in New Haven, Conn., in 1825 (or Watertown, N.Y., in 1830),
A bit of history and a recipe for the Tom and Jerry from the Fulton Patriot, Jan. 23, 1941
However, the New York Daily Graphic, Feb. 2, 1886, has different details.
One of the earliest references I found to the Tom and Jerry was in the New York Evening Telegram, June 25, 1873, and by then the drink was already quite popular and well known.
That’s because the recipe had been published in 1862 in “How to Mix Drinks or The Bon Vivant’s Companion” by Jerry Thomas himself. Notice that the drink was sometimes called a Copenhagen or a Jerry Thomas.
If anyone is so bold as to make Thomas’ 1862 recipe, let us know how it is. It requires five pounds of sugar and a dozen eggs, so we won’t try in the Daily Mirror’s test kitchen.