In the Mood For Hot Buttered Rum

A new love affair with an old favorite.
A new love affair with an old favorite.

Pardon me while I lounge in front of this roaring fire.

With a plush throw wrapped around me.

And my feet snuggled inside way-too-cute, furry white bunny slippers with the floppiest ears.

OK, maybe not. But sipping this soothing warm drink sure makes me feel as if I’m doing all of that.

When’s the last time you had a “Hot Buttered Rum”?

Me? I can’t even remember.

What a shame that is. Because once you take a sip, you’ll wonder why you haven’t been enjoying more of these regularly.

I thank Toni Tipton-Martin and her new book, “Juke Joints, Jazz Clubs & Juice” (Clarkson Potter, 2023), of which I received a review copy, for reminding me of the pleasures of this cozy drink.

The culinary journalist and editor-in-chief of Cook’s Country magazine has used her expertise and passion for historic research to write a book that pays homage to Black drinking culture through the ages by spotlighting its hospitality, creativity, and longevity.

You’ll be thirsting to make everything from “Strawberry Wine,” “Coffee Liqueur,” and “Pomegranate-Demerara Rum Punch” to “Pineapple-Lemon Highball,” “Absinthe Frappe,” and the clever, non-alcoholic “Cosmockpolitan.”

Buttered Rum dates back to pre-Prohibition, as published in “The Ideal Bartender” by Tom Bullock in 1917, Tipton-Martin writes.

“Hot Buttered Rum” is so easy to make. Dangerously so, if you get my drift.

Just stir together boiling water, a bit of brown sugar, a smidge of vanilla extract, rum, and of course, a tiny bit of butter. Then, top with a pinch of ground nutmeg and ground cinnamon.

A pinch of nutmeg and a pinch of cinnamon complete this soothing drink.
A pinch of nutmeg and a pinch of cinnamon complete this soothing drink.

Full of toasty baking spices, and that bit of butter to add a little more body, it is a drink that will warm you from the very top of your head to the very tips of your toes.

It is not overly boozy or sweet. Tipton-Martin says you can double the rum, if you want it more potent. Or even swap out the water for apple cider instead. But I kind of like the effect of just plain water, which lightens the alcohol burn without masking the taste of the rum with something else.

It’s a drink that’s as relaxing and restorative as it gets. And it absolutely deserves a wholehearted revival.

The perfect after-dinner drink at this time of year.
The perfect after-dinner drink at this time of year.

Hot Buttered Rum

(Serves 1)

3/4 cup boiling water

1 teaspoon butter

1 teaspoon brown or demerara sugar

1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) gold or dark rum

Pinch of ground cinnamon

Pinch of grated nutmeg

Fill an Irish Coffee glass with the boiling water. Add the butter, sugar, vanilla, and rum, stirring to mix well. Garnish with the cinnamon and nutmeg. Serve immediately.

From “Juke Joints, Jazz Clubs, and Juice” by Toni Tipton-Martin

Another Toni Tipton-Martin Recipe to Enjoy: Rice Muffins

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  • Thanks for reminding me about this perfect winter potion, Carolyn. I’m almost out of the small jar of Tom and Jerry batter with which I was gifted last month. This will be an excellent, and easy, replacement when conditions call for something warm!

  • Hi Carroll: “Potion” is the perfect word for it because it certainly feels magical enjoying it. 😉

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