Jack Sparrow would approve of today’s holiday: January 17th is National Hot Buttered Rum Day. Of all the various liquors, I think rum has the best flavor, so even though we recently celebrated a hot alcoholic beverage and didn’t care for it, I had high hopes for this drink.
In fact, hot buttered rum is closely related to the hot toddy. Both drinks are popular in the winter months (duh). But where the hot toddy is traditionally made with whiskey and honey, hot buttered rum is made with rum and butter (duh again). Plus brown sugar and spices like cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. The drink was a big hit in Colonial America, and was created in the 1650s after colonists began importing molasses from Jamaica. They quickly learned this byproduct of sugarcane could be turned into rum, and a series of distilleries opened up across New England. (Similar attempts to turn maple syrup into bourbon, honey into wine, and the tears of Pocahontas into absinthe failed miserably). Soon they were adding rum to everything, including toddies and eggnogs.
Over the holidays, Tara and I saw containers of hot buttered rum mix for sale in area grocery stores. “Perfect,” we said. “We’ll pick some up later.” Only once later rolled around, the product had disappeared from grocer’s shelves. Oops. Had we not learned our own lesson about planning ahead? Fortunately, the internet yielded recipes for making your own hot buttered rum batter. It’s amazingly easy – here’s the one I used:
Recipe for Hot Buttered Rum Batter
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 4 oz unsalted butter, room temp
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp nutmeg or mace
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/8 tsp salt
In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients thoroughly. Refrigerate in a sealed air-tight container for up to two months. This mixture can also be frozen for up to one year before using. Makes eight servings.
Preparing a Hot Buttered Rum Cocktail
- 2 Tbsp refrigerated hot buttered rum batter
- 6 oz boiling water
- 1 1/2 oz dark rum
- 1 Tbsp light cream (optional)
- nutmeg for garnish
In a hot beverage mug, combine hot buttered rum batter with boiling water, stirring well until dissolved. Add in rum and cream, if using. Garnish with a sprinkle of nutmeg. Serves one.
Remember how we didn’t like those hot toddies? Well, the hot buttered rum was…drumroll, please…DELICIOUS! Really, really good stuff. We were both impressed. I think we’ll have to make these an annual holiday tradition!
- January 17 – National Hot Buttered Rum Day (foodimentary.com)