GREAT FALLS – Those at the City Bar say the weeks leading up to Christmas are about spreading cheer through their homemade Tom and Jerry drink recipe.
The bar’s Christmas-time cocktail has become a holiday staple for patrons from all corners of the state.
“This is it. This is the spot to be at every year,” said Rickey Cascell.
“We only have Tom and Jerrys at the City Bar. It’s been years, years, and years,” said Angie Semenza.
Originally from the Wolf Bakery, the drink is created from a secret recipe kept in the family for over 50 years.
“When (my dad) he passed away, we bought the recipe from them, and as kids all of us used to make the batter,” said City Bar Owner Brad Watson.
“I know you can buy the batter in grocery stores, but this is sweeter, I think because the special ingredient is love,” said Semenza.
Love along with 20,000 Montana eggs, 2,400 pounds of sugar, and a heavy heaping of a special ingredient makes enough batter for thirsty patrons every winter.
Customers say the drink’s warm aroma and sweet spices keep them coming back to usher in the Christmas spirit year after year.
“This is probably my fourth year coming down here for a Tom and Jerry,” said Cascell.
“Had my Tom and Jerry, tomorrow I can go put up my tree,” said Semenza.
The libation does something the holidays are best known for – creating traditions by bringing people together.
“What feels good about it is there’s a lot of people that come in that make the City Bar part of its tradition. They want to come to City Bar and have a Tom and Jerry at Christmastime,” said Watson.
The bar is packed with Tom and Jerry drinkers during holiday events like the Christmas Stroll, but Watson said it’s the days just before Christmas that are the busiest.
“We’ll make, geez, well over four to five hundred gallons in three, four days,” said Watson.
Staff added the Christmas chaos is always a welcome flurry of activity around yuletide and they always welcome new patrons in to try a sip.
If you’re looking to drink in your own holiday tradition, the City Bar sells their homemade batter in-house and also packages it for patrons to take home during the holidays.
But time is running out to buy the Christmas-time cocktail as the last day they sell their batter is December 31.
Story by Keeley Van Middendorp, MTN News