By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Dec 01, 2021 at 4:31 PM

There are few holiday traditions more classic than the enjoyment of a Tom & Jerry, eggnog's sexy, spicy, warming cousin.

And there are few places better to enjoy one (or two) than at Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge, 1579 S. 9th St., which has made serving the classic drink a holiday tradition.

The Bryant’s version of the warm, creamy Tom & Jerry  – which tastes a bit like boozy spiced custard – employs both brandy and rum, along with a batter containing eggs, vanilla, powdered sugar, butter and the classic spices: nutmeg, cloves and allspice.

"I always tell people that this is the quintessential holiday drink in Wisconsin," says Bryant's owner John Dye. "If it’s done right, it’s a process; so serving these is a labor of love."

This year, the official launch of the Tom & Jerry Room will kick off on Thursday, Dec. 2 with service from 7 p.m. to midnight.

What you need to know

For the first time, the entire Velvet Room has been reimagined for the occasion, creating a larger (and more festive) Tom & Jerry Room, complete with plenty of holiday decor.

Among the features is a grand display featuring a giant vintage stuffed Santa Claus in a sleigh driven by two animatronic reindeer. The characters were originally part of the holiday display at the former Capitol Court, but were acquired by Bryant's owner John Dye two years ago. 

“I bought them from John McLaughlin of Brass Rooster," Dye notes, "And I've been looking for a way to display them ever since."

Limited seating (with full service) will be available in the Tom & Jerry room all season long, where guests can enjoy a limited menu of holiday drinks, including Tom & Jerry’s ($12 each).

Since upstairs seating is limited, guests will also be able to enjoy Tom & Jerry's (along with the full Bryant's menu) in the downstairs bar. Guests who order a Tom & Jerry will receive a ticket from their server, which can be redeemed for the cocktail at the upstairs bar.

Commemorative Tom & Jerry mugs will also be available this year. However, due to supply chain delays, the mugs won't be available for the Tom & Jerry room launch. For now, guests can pre-order the mugs for $11 each. Bryant's will notify guests to pick up their mugs when the shipment arrives. 

Design for mugs
A peek at the wrap-around design for the new mugs

Make your reservation

Due to limited capacity, reservations are highly recommended for both the main bar and the Tom & Jerry room. Reservations are good for 90 minutes and can be made online.

Reservations are open through Dec. 23, with hours Thursday through Saturday from 7 p.m. to midnight. Bryant’s will also offer special hours on Dec. 21 and 22 from 7 p.m. to midnight.

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.