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Hot Buttered Rum

December 11, 2017

“…where the best course for you to pursue, will be to put your feet into the hottest water you can bear, and take a glass of scalding rum and butter after you get into bed.” - Hard Times, Dickens.


There is a familiarity with the words hot buttered rum, it seems to have always existed with us even if we have never sipped from one. It’s a name that intrigues and entices and instantly puts us in a festive holiday mood. And all though the name describes the drink perfectly, we are not really always sure of what is in it.


The idea of adding butter to alcohol started with ales and ciders in England in the 16th century. Thomas Dawson’s The Good Huswife’s Handmaide for the Kitchin’ (1594) instructs to combine ale, spices, egg, sugar, and a whole lot of real butter. These buttered drinks were categorized under “flips” which we now take to mean drinks with whole eggs, but an earlier meaning established flips as hot ale or cider drinks with the addition of butter and/or eggs. It is believed the swapping of ale and cider for scotch happened in Colonial New England. And as the colonist turned their tastes towards local made rum, then The Hot Buttered Rum was born.


As we know from the recent “bullet proof coffee” diet trend and the associated material written about it, buttered beverages can trace their history back centuries in regions of Asia and Africa.


This is a great drink to have around as the batter is fairly stable refrigerated for months, so it is something you can always have on hand and add to the menu quickly as weather dictates.  I recommend making this early in the season and dividing into smaller containers. Refrigerate and when needed, pull out a container and allow it to come to room temp for service.




In mixer, blend below together until well creamed.


1 lb unsalted butter (softened)

2 lb light brown sugar (broken up so clumps are removed)

3 Tbsp ground Cinnamon

2 Tbsp ground Nutmeg

2 Tbsp Allspice

1 Tbsp Ground Ginger

2 Tbsp Vanilla extract

1 Tbsp  Molasses

pinch salt


Pack the dough into a jar or plastic deli container, store in refrigerator and scoop out when needed. 



To make cocktail


Bring the dough balls to room temp (you do not want to add a cold element to a hot drink)


In a Coffee Mug add:

Add 1.5 oz Aged Dark Rum or A Blend of Rums

1 large tablespoon dough

Add 5 to 6 oz hot water

Stir well to dissolve dough

Garnish with a piece of star anise 


Sparrow's Rum Blend for a HBR

1 oz El Dorado 5 yr Rum

5 oz Blackwell Jamaican Rum

.5 oz La Favorite Amber Rhum


Tips for service

  • Make one large batch at the start of the season (or before, just to have ready)

  • Pack into Pint sized delis

  • Develop a “rum blend” and pre-batch

  • Garnish with a “solid” spice such as star anise vs grated

  • Serve in an opaque mug 






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