Ye olde hot buttered rum

While everyone else looks at today at Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the people at Mount Gay Barbados Rum have decided that Jan. 17 is Hot Buttered Rum Day. Well, if every dog has its day, I guess every beverage must, too.

I’m trying to envision what this old-timey drink would taste like. I imagine warm alcohol covered with an oil slick. And the recipe I found in my 1975 edition of “Joy of Cooking” doesn’t do much to change my mind: Mix 1 teaspoon powdered sugar with 1/4 cup boiling water, 1/4 cup rum and 1 tablespoon butter in a hot tumbler. (Yeah, I have lots of hot tumblers lying around.) Fill the tumbler with boiling water, stir well and sprinkle with grated nutmeg.

A note with the recipe expresses surprise that the Puritans made drinks like this. But if you go to the Colonial Williamsburg site, there’s an outline of the many ways that early American settlers saw alcohol as good for them. From the site: “Colonial Americans, at least many of them, believed alcohol could cure the sick, strengthen the weak, enliven the aged, and generally make the world a better place. They tippled, toasted, sipped, slurped, quaffed, and guzzled from dawn to dark.”

Sounds like a Super Bowl party.


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3 Responses to “Ye olde hot buttered rum”


  • Comment from The Gourmez

    The basic hot buttered rum is indeed, a bit lacking in texture and flavor. However, I recently made a lot of hot buttered rum for a party that was quite good–the key was to spike the butter first, mixing it with loads of brown sugar, cinnamon, orange zest, and nutmeg. Then you would pour a shot of dark rum in a mug, add a pat of the butter, and pour boiling water over the top, being sure to mix a little. That version is definitely worth trying, but you’ll still find that more than one is unappealing, since it is still butter melted in your glass.

  • Comment from Vidiot

    I defer to RumDood in his recipe:
    http://rumdood.com/2009/12/01/hot-buttered-rum/

    Though I tend to prefer bourbon toddies as the hot drink of choice, or Tom and Jerry around Christmastime.

    And yes, our ancestors drank an awesome amount of spirits. Raleigh is located where it is because early legislators were inordinately fond of Joel Lane’s Cherry Bounce!

  • Deb, take a look at my last blog post of 2010. It includes my favorite hot-buttered rum mix, which I got from the talented Jane Snow many years ago. I have a bowl of the batter in the refrigerator right now.


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