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!

butter_spices

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?

{ 13 comments }

Jac December 1, 2009 at 8:17 am

Footnote tease…

Matt Robold December 1, 2009 at 8:27 am

I knew I forgot something. Footnote added.

Craig Hermann December 1, 2009 at 10:19 am

I make mine in huge batches – this fills 6 12-oz containers for use at Thatch or to give to friends.

2 cups butter, room temp and soft
4 cups dark brown sugar
1 Tbsp ground ceylon cinnamon
1/2 Tbsp ground cassia cinnamon
1/2 Tbsp ginger powder
2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp ground mace
1 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cardamom

Combine sugar and spices. Add the sugar mixture to the softened butter in a stand mixer 1 cup at a time at medium speed.

I’m down to my last 2 tubs, time to make another batch!

Paul Etter December 1, 2009 at 12:34 pm

I like to use good strong black tea in place of the water. I tend to follow the Volcano House recipe using marschino liqeuer and lemon juice. I’ve stayed at the Volcano House but didn’t know at the time they were so famous for their hot buttered rum.

I’ve never made hot buttered rum using a batter. I agree that it seems like too much forethought for a cocktail, especially when we get so few nippy* days here in California. Who has time to prepare?

*below 60 degrees F.

Matt Robold December 2, 2009 at 7:52 am

Craig: I’m going to have to try that batter, but scaled down a tad.

Paul: The Volcano House is the HBR variant that Jeff Berry turned me on to very recently, and will appear here on the site very soon.

Mike S. December 5, 2009 at 8:12 pm

Oh, +1 on HBR made with good black tea. Even better, if you happen to live anywhere near a Peet’s Coffee & Tea (mostly NorCal but other places as well), pick up a tin of their “Winter Solstice” — an amazing blend of black tea, spices, vanilla and dried citrus available only during the holidays. It’s practically all you need.

Mistahunter December 19, 2009 at 11:47 am

Today is the day for this in the Northeast….

I have found that Zacapa’s sweetness works well with this…

I use all the spices mentioned…

I tend to go with fresh orange instead of lemon…and I use agave syrup instead of sugar. Oh…I also use a little less butter (personal taste preference).

Stay warm my friends!!!

Dirk January 8, 2010 at 2:10 am

In my Bar, we make it with organic appeljuice and Old Monk Rum from India!

Bill Connelly May 6, 2010 at 5:10 pm

I can’t believe no one mentioned using a hot poker to boil the mix. It’s a bit messy, but it sure is fun, and it definitely adds something.

Preston Jemmott December 5, 2010 at 7:58 pm

Like the cinnamon stick as garnish with a touch of vanilla along with the brown sugar and butter,and of course the Rum

Cotati station neighbor December 30, 2010 at 8:39 pm

I like Mr. Boston’s simple approach…

1 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. butter
2 oz. dark rum
Hot water (2/3 full in Irish coffee mug)

Add hot water to brown sugar. Stir to dissolve. Add butter and rum. Stir to melt butter. Garnish with a freshly ground nutmeg (and I sprinkled some cinnamon)

Pattypro January 14, 2012 at 3:33 pm

This is the recipe I’ve been using for the past 3 or 4 years, using Sailor Jerry’s rum to increase the spiciness: http://www.barnonedrinks.com/drinks/t/tonys-hot-buttered-rum-batter-12938.html
I didn’t make any this fall/winter, so I’m off to the kitchen to whip up the one you posted.
*I’m a desert rat, so nippy for me is anything below 90* F.

Andrew Schawel November 28, 2012 at 1:13 am

Speaking of the Zig Zag, Seattle… All cocktail enthusiasts should know about Murray Stetson and his contributions to the cocktail culture in the US. You should also be aware of his health condition and what the global hospitality industry is doing to help him!

Check it out: http://murrayaid.org/

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