hot-buttered-rum-017So. Hot buttered rum. It’s one of those drinks that are almost always awful, but once in a blue moon you stumble across a really good one. It’s kind of like the Hunger Games in that the odds are never really in your favor. However, the name sounds so appealing and it’s mentioned in one of my favorite Christmas songs, so I decided to throw caution to the wind and attempt to find one of those rare good recipes.

hot-buttered-rum-2I did my research. The traditional preparation of hot buttered rum contains only butter, brown sugar, hot water and rum. Oh, and when I say butter, I mean 1 Tbsp of butter for one person. I keep flip flopping between thinking this is awesome and feeling a little sick about it. 

You build the drink by dissolving the sugar in the water and then adding the tablespoon of butter and the rum. The butter slowly dissolves into the drink, but leaves behind a greasy coating on the surface of the drink. The flavor of the rum if very strong in the traditional preparation, with only the butter and sugar to round it out.

hot-buttered-rum-4For my first test batch deviating from the classic recipe, I added some spices to the mix. I basically created a compound butter by mixing together the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Then I poured the hot water over the compound butter and stirred until the butter fully dissolved. Lastly, I added the rum.

The flavor of this drink was actually quite nice. The drawback was that the drink was slightly gritty from all the spices.



With the previous batch’s gritty texture in mind, I cut down on the spices for this version. To compensate in terms of the flavor, I expressed the oils of an orange peel into the glass, along with a spice of the peel itself. When I say I “expressed” the oils,  mean that I cut the peel away from the orange while holding it over the glass so that the resulting spray of orangey wonderfulness went into the glass rather than being lost to the ether. I also added salt, because salt really helps enhance flavors and bring them into focus.

This version was the best so far, so I decided to make a larger batch so I could put in proper measurements rather than a “pinch.” My pinch may vary greatly from yours, so teaspoons are a better form of measurement. (Weight would be even better, but I didn’t feel like going there today.)


hot-buttered-rum-10This last recipe was my favorite of the bunch and it makes at least 4 servings. You start out by making the base, which, as discussed, is essentially a compound butter, and then you store it in the fridge until ready to drink.

A lot of the recipes I saw online used much more sugar that this recipe and a lot of them even involved vanilla ice cream. Well, to me that sounded kind of like one of those girly ice cream drinks from college so I steered clear of the whole ice cream thing. Plus, I didn’t have any ice cream, which made the whole issue moot. But yes, my version is not nearly as sweet as some of the recipes out there. I’m keeping it real.



However, I did dollop the top of my hot buttered rum with a lightly sweetened whipped cream. The cream kind of melts into the buttered rum as you drink it, lending that extra body needed to make the drink truly decadent.

Hot Buttered Rum
Prep time
Total time
Recipe By:
Serves: 4
  • 4 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Tbsp Dark Brown Sugar
  • ⅛ tsp ground Cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp ground Cloves
  • ⅛ tsp freshly ground Nutmeg
  • ⅛ tsp Salt
  • 1 Orange
  • Boiling Water
  • 8 oz Spiced Rum
  1. Mix together the butter, brown sugar and spices until the brown sugar and spices have been completely worked into the butter.
  2. Place 1 Tbsp of the spiced butter in each glass. Store any unused portion in the refrigerator.
  3. Peel a strip of orange peel from the orange, holding the fruit and knife so that the oils are expressed into the glass.
  4. Pour about 4 ounces of boiling water over the butter and orange peel in each glass and stir until the butter melts.
  5. Add 2 oz of rum to each glass and taste. Add more water if needed.
  6. If desired, serve topped with a lightly sweetened whipped cream and a dusting of nutmeg.