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The Hot Buttered Rum


This classic was originally created as a medicinal drink, said to be nutritious and strengthen the body. In colonial-era America, rum and molasses were reasonably inexpensive and the hot buttered rum became a natural to help endure the cold months. The first spirit in the Americas was not whiskey as often believed, but rum. Many families had their own personal recipe for this drink, which was handed down throughout the generations.


A traditional recipe for Hot Buttered Rum

(adapted from Jerry Thomas’ Bar-Tenders Guide (1887)


For 1 drink

1 tsp powdered sugar

2 oz. Rum

1 piece of butter (the size of a chestnut)

3-4 oz. boiling water

Nutmeg for a garnish

Dissolve sugar in a little boiling water. Add rum and butter to a pre-warmed mug and fill with boiling water. Stir and top with grated nutmeg.


Batter version

Makes 10-12 drinks

½ C. unsalted butter

2 C. brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp ground cinnamon

Pinch of ground cloves

½ tsp nutmeg

Pinch of salt

Combine well above ingredients for the batter. This can be made ahead of time and refrigerated or even frozen.

In a mug, combine 2 oz. good quality rum and 6 oz. hot water. Top with 2 TB of batter, float on top 1 pat of butter (optional). Stir and enjoy.

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