Hot Buttered Rum

by Matt Robold on December 1, 2009

Hot Buttered Rum

When the weather starts getting nippy* and additional layers of clothes are required for keeping yourself from freezing to your couch, warm drinks are a perfect way to keep yourself thawed out.  Of course, a little rum never hurts.

Hot Buttered Rum

2 oz Rum
3 tsp Sugar
.5 tsp Allspice
.5 tsp Cloves
1 tbsp Butter
Hot Water

Warm a mug or glass, and then add sugar and about 1.5 oz of hot water to the mug.  Stir sugar and water until sugar is well-dissolved.  Add rum and spices and then fill top the mug with hot water.  Add butter and stir until butter is completely melted.  Garnish with a cinnamon stick and/or orange peel, depending on the flavor you’re looking for.

This isn’t the Hot Buttered Rum most people know.  The majority of people making Hot Buttered Rum at home are probably using a store-bought “Buttered Rum Batter” of some sort that is designed to be mixed with butter, rum, and hot water.  There’s nothing wrong with this approach, as the “batter” is just a combination of sugar and spices similar to what you see above.

This particular recipe is much closer to Hot Buttered Rum’s roots.  Rum, butter, and hot water appear in Jerry Thomas’ mid-19th Century bar guides as “Hot Rum” and “Hot Spiced Rum” – both largely following the instructions here.  These instructions were cribbed from Chris McMillan, Master bartender from New Orleans, and one of the founders of the Museum of the American Cocktail.  In fact, you can see Chris make one of these concoctions through the magic of the Internet!


Just Add Rum

There are endless varieties of Hot Buttered Rum.  Darcy O’Neil from Art of Drink recommends trying this basic recipe but substituting hot apple cider for the hot water.  Zig Zag Cafe, in Seattle, makes them using a batter consisting of vanilla ice cream, sugar, more sugar, spices, and vanilla extract.  Blair Reynolds, of Trader Tiki fame, likes to use a touch of salt in his batter, and Jeff “Beachbum” Berry includes a recipe in his upcoming book that involves hot tea, lemon juice, and maraschino liqueur!

Personally, I like the simple prep of the classic Hot Buttered Rum.  It appeals to my lazy nature, and I enjoy simply tinkering with different spices or even using a grapefruit peel from time to time when the mood strike.  Also, this is how Chris McMillan makes his, and one of the many rules I live by is, “Never argue with a New Orleanean when butter is involved.”

* nippy for me is anything below 60 degrees F

Question of the Day:

How do you like to make your Hot Buttered Rum?

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