What is Hot Buttered Rum?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 12 September 2019
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Hot buttered rum is among a family of spiced drinks popular during the holiday season. The drink is made with butter, rum, sugar, and spices, and diluted with hot water, which warms it. After a day in brisk winter weather, a hot drink can be a pleasant way to warm up and relax. Usually, hot buttered rum is served in thick ceramic mugs that will retain the heat without cracking. The drink tends to be sweet, with a strong alcoholic kick from the rum.

Like many hot alcoholic drinks, hot buttered rum has its origins in Europe. Spiced drinks made with various alcohols have been around for thousands of years. This beverage probably entered the scene in the 1700s, when the potent liquor began to be imported from the Jamaican colonies. When water supplies were potentially dangerous, people often consumed a great deal of alcohol, and came up with creative ways to prepare and serve it. In the winter, warming drinks were vital in poorly insulated, cold buildings.


The base for hot buttered rum is sometimes called a batter, and it can be made up to one month ahead of time. The batter can be frozen and scooped out as needed. To make a classic batter, people can mix 8 tablespoons (one stick or 113 grams) unsalted butter with 2 cups (about 420 g) light brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon (2.6 g), 0.5 teaspoon (1.1 g) nutmeg, and 0.25 teaspoon (0.52 g) ground cloves. The ingredients should be blended well and kept refrigerated or frozen until they are ready for use.

To make hot buttered rum, a cook can put 2 tablespoons (about 28.5 g) of the mixture into a mug and pour approximately 3 ounces (88.7 ml) of rum over it. Boiling water is added and the mixture stirred until all the ingredients have blended. The drink can be served plain, or whipped cream, cinnamon sticks, or another holiday garnish added. It should be served immediately, as the ingredients will begin to separate as it cools.

This beverage can be served with cocktails year round, although traditionally it is served with other Christmas drinks such as egg nog, mulled wine, and spiced ciders. Like other heated alcoholic Christmas drinks, it still contains alcohol, and it should be consumed in moderation. People who serve this rum drink at a party should make sure to have nonalcoholic options available for young guests and drivers, so that they do not feel left out of the celebrations.


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Post 2

I had bronchitis back in the winter and I drank hot buttered rum for my cough. I can't take any kind of prescription cough medicine, but that hot buttered rum was really good and it knocked out the cough.

I guess it's kind of a folk remedy, but it sure enough worked for me. It also made me drowsy enough to sleep, and stopped my coughing in the night. It was money well spent for the rum. I liked the golden rum, too. It seemed to go with the spices in the hot butter compound.

Post 1

I'm not much of a drinker, but I do like hot buttered rum. I like to use golden rum, as opposed to dark or white rum. I think it's a lot smoother and doesn't burn as much. I use golden rum for most of my cooking that calls for it. It's great for soaking raisins for Christmas baking, especially for fruitcake cookies! My fruitcake cookies are mostly fruit and raisins and not much batter, so the rum flavoring is important. It needs to stand out, but without being obnoxious. The golden rum is good for that.

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