We’re all familiar with the warming effects of hot toddies, Irish coffees, and mulled wine. But if you’re from the Midwest, the Tom and Jerry is the cold-weather tipple of choice.

It wasn’t until college that New York Times booze guru Robert Simonson “learned the drink was a provincial oddity that had somehow clung to life in Wisconsin and bordering states, while falling into obscurity everywhere else.” In his recent piece, gives us a history refresher on the frothy brandied milk, which was invented in St. Louis around the mid-19th century and then spread throughout the Midwest.

Brandy is favored in Wisconsin, a state known for its dairy production. Both of these factors have contributed to the continued reign of the Tom and Jerry in the region. At the height of its popularity, Tom and Jerry punch bowls were widespread, and local stores sold ready-made cocktail mixes.

To try the cocktail, you may have to make your own. Esquire‘s recipe calls for eggs, sugar, brandy, rum, milk, and a host of Christmassy spices, including cloves and cinnamon.

[via The New York Times]