Hot Buttered Rum

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?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Jac

    December 1, 2009, 08:17

    Footnote tease…

  • Matt Robold

    December 1, 2009, 08:27

    I knew I forgot something. Footnote added.

  • Craig Hermann

    December 1, 2009, 10:19

    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, 12:34

    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, 07:52

    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, 20:12

    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, 11:47

    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, 02:10

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

  • Bill Connelly

    May 6, 2010, 17:10

    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, 19:58

    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, 20:39

    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, 15:33

    This is the recipe I’ve been using for the past 3 or 4 years, using Sailor Jerry’s rum to increase the spiciness:
    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, 01:13

    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: