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.