Hot Buttered Butter Rum

February 10, 2022
4 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten. Prop Stylist: Molly Fitzsimons. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog.
  • Prep time 13 hours 25 minutes
  • Cook time 5 minutes
  • makes 1 drink
Author Notes

If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing. Yes, there are numerous benefits to restraint, but there is also a sublime satisfaction in taking things as far as you possibly can. This was the guiding principle behind how I arrived at this recipe.

People have been drinking hot cocktails for a long time. After all, until the advent of refrigeration, ice was hard to keep and store year-round, and was generally regarded as a luxury. Heat, on the other hand, has been humankind’s constant companion for millennia. One of the most primordial of the hot drinks is hot buttered rum, which at its core is a mixture of hot water, rum, butter, and sugar.

The main idea behind this drink is the harmony of the butter and rum, cushioned by brown sugar, with hot water providing the space to expand. You’ll notice that the overall percentage of rum to total volume is much lower than you would find in an ice-based cocktail like a margarita or old fashioned. This is because alcohol has a lower boiling point than water. This means that when warmed, alcohol vapors are much more volatile, dialing up the perception of alcoholic strength in a drink. (Think about the difference between room-temperature vodka versus how it tastes if you’ve kept it in the freezer.)

Of course, I couldn’t just mix butter, rum, sugar, and water and call it a day. In addition to tossing in some warming spices, I wanted to maximize the butter as much as I could. I used a technique known as “fat washing” to infuse butter into the rum itself, giving the drink a richer dimension of buttery goodness. If you don’t feel like it, you can use plain rum—but you’re already going through the trouble of making yourself a hot drink on a cold winter’s day, so why not take it as far as you can? —John deBary

What You'll Need
  • Hot Buttered Butter Rum
  • 1 1/2 ounces Butter Rum (below), at room temperature
  • 1 ounce Butter Batter (below), at room temperature
  • Butter Rum & Butter Batter
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
  • 12 1/2 ounces (half of a 750–milliliter bottle) dark rum
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 small nutmeg, finely grated
  1. Hot Buttered Butter Rum
  2. Bring 6 ounces (¾ cup) of water to a boil in a medium pot. Remove from the heat and let sit while you combine the Butter Rum and Butter Batter in a heatproof mug. Pour the water into the mug and stir until totally combined. Serve immediately.
  1. Butter Rum & Butter Batter
  2. Make the Butter Rum: Melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Combine with the dark rum in a small, freezer-proof container. Stir briefly and let sit at room temperature for 8 to 10 hours. Then transfer to the freezer for 3 hours. Once the butter has solidified, pour the mixture through a fine-mesh filter, such as a gold coffee filter or cheesecloth (don’t press on the butter solids). Discard the butter and transfer the Butter Rum to an airtight container. It will keep in the refrigerator or freezer for up to 6 months.
  3. Meanwhile, make the Butter Batter: Melt the remaining ½ cup of butter. In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter with the brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, black pepper, and nutmeg. If not using immediately, measure 1-ounce pours into a silicone ice cube tray, then freeze until firm. Once solid, remove the portions from the mold and transfer to a freezer bag or container for up to 2 months.

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