It’s that time of the year again! The carols are in the stores, everyone’s talking about the big fat guy and how he’s going to fit down the chimney, so it must be time to make up a batch of hot buttered rum batter. Apparently hot buttered rum has its origins in Europe, which makes sense because it surely had to be invented in countries where it was freezing outside, and a nice, warm alcoholic drink was needed to thaw out the bones as you sat in front of a warm fire. It basically consists of butter, rum, sugar and spices combined with hot water, though there are many variations on this theme.
The simplest recipe consists of putting a small slice of butter, 1 tsp of brown sugar and a pinch of cinnamon in the bottom of a pre-warmed ceramic cup. Top this with 30ml of dark rum and add boiling water.
However you can make this basic mixture in bulk too to save time. I often make the base for the rum butter (the “batter”) in advance and store it in the freezer. This way it is ready to go when unexpected guests arrive (or when I need a pick-me-up on a cold winter’s night!) The mixture consists of one cup of butter, blended with two cups brown sugar, one teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, and ½ teaspoon cloves. Blend the ingredients in a food processor and keep them in the freezer until needed. To make the hot buttered rum I simply add a shot of dark rum along with 1 tablespoon of the batter to a mug of boiling water.
If I am entertaining I make a more sophisticated version. This replaces the water with hot apple cider, and uses cinnamon sticks instead of ground cinnamon.
Ingredients (Serves 6)
• 6 cinnamon sticks
• 250ml (1 cup) dark rum
• 1L (4 cups) apple cider
• 2 tablespoons brown sugar
• 12 whole cloves
• 1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter
1. Divide the cinnamon sticks and rum among heatproof serving glasses or mugs.
2. Place the cider, sugar and cloves in a large saucepan over medium heat and stir until
the sugar dissolves. Simmer for a few minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a large
heatproof jug. Throw the cloves out.
3. Divide the cider mixture among the glasses. Top each with a teaspoon of butter to
Anyway how you have it, hot buttered rum is the ideal drink to serve on a chilly winter night. Enjoy!