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- 2 Ounces Appleton VX rum
- 1 Teaspoon maple pumpkin butter
- 3/4 Ounces honey (diluted 3:1, with hot water)
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- Cinnamon stick
Combine rum with maple pumpkin butter. Top with hot honey water to steam ingredients until mixed. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg and a cinnamon stick.
Has Hot Buttered Rum Lost Its Damn Mind?
In the canon of holiday cocktails, Hot Buttered Rum has traditionally been the most maligned, perhaps because its hip-hugging ingredient is right there in its name: butter. Silky and dense, the HBR walks the skinny tightrope between unctuousness and oil-slicked excess, but when executed properly, many bartenders will tell you that it’s an ideal holiday indulgence. It’s just about finding that balance.
The New HBR
Not Buttered Rum
Pumpkin Buttered Tequila
In Jerry Thomas’s 1887 The Bartenders Guide, Hot Buttered Rum involves nothing more than a pat of butter melted into a mug of rum, hot water and sugar. But the most popular renditions involve making a buttery batter imbued with sugar and spices, which is then swirled into a mug with rum and hot water.
One of the pitfalls of the drink, however, is that the butter can just sit right there on the top as opposed to lending the drink its intended silky texture. This struggle is perhaps why a number of rum enthusiasts, including writer Wayne Curtis and Boston bartender Nicole Lebedevitch, recommend adding vanilla ice cream to the batter. This is bartender Andrew Volk’s tack, too, outlined in his recent book, Northern Hospitality equal parts butter and ice cream are combined with brown sugar, cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg, resulting in a much creamier drink in the end.
“When mixed with the cream, the butter melts quicker because there is simply less of it,” says Volk. “The cream brings a silky mouthfeel to the whole thing. You’re essentially no longer just tossing sugar mixed with milk solids (butter) into hot water, but also sweetened and flavored cream.”
These days, bartenders are going far beyond the addition of ice cream to take the rich, warming soul of the drink and redefine it for todays palate, often by lowering the alcohol and finding a butter substitute without losing its essence.
In Seattle, sommelier Kathryn Olson and bartender Zac Overman of L’Oursin have been developing a mulled wine version of HBR for a couple of years. This season, it’s finally on the menu. The key to their Vin Beurre, a take on the French vin chaud, was finding the right wine. “We’ve worked with some 100 percent folle blanche and ugni blanc wines in the past, and we love the full body countered by absolutely screaming acidity,” says Overman. To this he adds some honey, thyme, toasted almonds, ginger and golden raisins, crowned by a slip of calvados butter—unsalted butter whipped with Manoir du Montreuil calvados—that he keeps at room temp behind the bar. “Having that extra weight and texture in the winter is really comforting to me,” says Overman.
In this era of fat-washing spirits, it’s no surprise that a number of bartenders are infusing the butter right into the rum itself, giving the flavor and texture, without all the added fat. For his version, Little Drummer Girl, Patrick Halloran at Henrietta Red in Nashville washes the rum with brown butter to add some toastiness and gets the desired spice from a concoction of Amaro di Angostura and Carpano Antica sweet vermouth. And in a move that defies the warming quality of the old standard, Halloran serves the drink chilled, topped with whipped banana liqueur cream.
Ryan Lotz, beverage director at Shore Leave Bar in Boston, also serves his chilled, taking inspiration from tiki master Donn Beach’s iced spin on the HBR, the Pearl Diver. He goes one step further, however, and makes his cold buttered drink with reposado tequila and tamarind butter—a far cry from New England’s colonial ties to the cocktail.
Tequila is finding its way into the hot buttered field elsewhere, too. At Arguello in San Francisco, Enrique Sanchez makes his Pumpkin Buttered Tequila by stirring pumpkin butter into añejo tequila, alongside warming spices including cinnamon, cloves, star anise and Cannella cinnamon cordial, which itself includes four different types of the aromatic spice.
Rather than making the butter element the main event, Grace Bernotavicius, at Chicago’s Ludlow Liquors, gives the rum component full attention in her Not Buttered Rum. She uses three different rums, each contributing something different to the drink: the Venezuelan Santa Teresa 1796 gives a rich sweetness while the Smith & Cross Jamaican rum ups the proof and brings some funk and the Plantation Xaymaca adds a desired dryness.
In fact, there’s no butter in Bernotavicius’s recipe at all. Instead, she uses a cold-pressed, organic coconut oil. “I’ve recently been trying to eat more plant-based, so I was trying to think of a vegan alternative to butter,” Bernotavicius says. First, she used a mixer to cream the oil with sugar and spices—just like any other batter. The result was lacking the texture she was looking for. Ludlow’s chef, Nick Jirasek, recommended she add a pinch of xantham gum (a vegan stabilizer and emulsifier), which was just the trick. “I was finding that the oil was sitting on the top of the drink, this just helped bind everything together,” she says. No ice cream necessary.
The Original Hot Buttered Rum Recipe
Winter can be an endless, freezing drag. Luckily, nothing helps melt through seasonal malaise like a cocktail classic: hot buttered rum.
This hearty, warming drink is pure cocktail comfort food. Have a favorite wintry ingredient? Try adding it to the mix. The vanilla extract in this recipe brings a delicious depth to the drink, but substituting sarsaparilla or ginger will yield a completely different (and delightful) flavor profile.
Hot buttered rum is also a great excuse to use some of those liqueurs gathering dust on your bar cart—if you’ve still got that bottle of Drambuie or Galliano that’s been taking up space in your liquor cabinet since 1983, this is your opportunity to throw in a splash and put them to work. Endlessly customizable, we encourage you to use this base recipe as a springboard to cocktail creativity.
Thirsty yet? Lets get mixing.
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- Pinch of salt
- 2 ounces dark or aged rum
- 6 ounces hot water
- Cinnamon stick, for garnish (optional)
In mixing bowl, combine butter, vanilla extract, sugar, spices and salt. Beat until well combined.
In heat-proof glass or mug, combine aged rum with 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) spiced butter mixture. Remaining batter can be stored in airtight container in refrigerator for future use.
Top with hot water and stir until ingredients are well incorporated. Garnish with cinnamon stick if preferred.
Pumpkin Spiced Hot Buttered Rum
Kahlúa, Kahlúa and more Kahlúa! Which is not a complaint! If the other 4 didn’t whet your whistle then this one definitely will!
I happen to love Hot Buttered Rum in the winter months. The spices, the sweetness, the rum. It’s the perfect warm-you-up concoction after a long day in the snow. I had never thought to put Kahlúa in my Hot Buttered Rum before, but after all, Kahlúa is rum with the greatness of coffee mixed in.
Now take the Hot Buttered Rum to the next level and add Kahlúa Pumpkin Spice. That was the deal sealer right there. The room was filled with “mmmmm” after the first sip.
I made the batter as simple as can be. Only 4 ingredients. Butter, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice and orange zest. Mix it up and put in a sealed container (not that it will last long) and pop in the fridge so it solidifies. Then all you need to do is fill the kettle, get it whistling and you’ll be sipping Pumpkin Spiced Hot Buttered Rum in a flash. 6 ingredients, one mug of delish!
1 stick of REAL organic salted BUTTER
1 jar of Laura Ann's Jams Maple Pumpkin Butter (Smashing Pumpkin Butter)
1 c organic raw sugar
1 c light brown sugar
2 tsp pumpkin spice (equal parts ground ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg with a pinch of ground clove)
1 bottle Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum or your favorite spiced rum
Cream together the sugars and the butter (I use my KitchenAid mixer for this part) until creamy.
Add spices and pumpkin butter until well combined.
Put magical mixture in a glass bowl or jar and put in the fridge until almost firm.
In your favorite mug add:
2 tbsp (or more, if you have a big mug) of the mix
3oz Sailor Jerry's spiced rum (or more, if you're a big lush — I mean, have a big mug)
Then top with boiling water, stir WELL until completely mixed, and add a dollop of fresh whipped cream and maybe add sprinkles or a drizzle of maple syrup.
Chef John's Hot Buttered Rum Recipe Is a Very New, Old Tradition
Rich, delicious, and super easy to make, Chef John's hot buttered rum is the ultimate festive holiday drink.
I was fortunate to have grown up with many wonderful holiday traditions, like hunting for and cutting down the perfect Christmas tree, sleigh rides, caroling, Midnight Mass, and, of course, the Feast of the Seven Fishes. But one thing I don’t remember being any kind of annual ritual was enjoying fancy holiday drinks. We didn’t eggnog, hot toddy, or muddle wine and we certainly didn’t hot butter rum. Unless the adults were partaking in private, which is a possibility, since cell phones weren’t invented yet, and secrets were so much easier to keep back then.
Other than the occasional hot chocolate, I don’t remember enjoying any of these iconic beverages. But as a wise man once said, “It’s never too late to have a happy childhood,” which is what I’m doing here thanks to my new best friend, Hot Buttered Rum. Ah, the memories. And no, I’m not suggesting you give alcoholic drinks to kids. You can make theirs with a little rum extract instead of the actual booze until they are at least 16.
By the way, the tter” for this drink, which is what we call the sweet and spicy buttery base, will keep a very long time in the fridge, or basically forever in the freezer. That means this holiday drink can be enjoyed year-round if you make a nice large batch now. Of course, n be,” and “should be” aren’t the same things, so as they say at the end of every liquor commercial, please drink responsibly. And now that we’ve covered that, I’ll finish up by saying, I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!
For more Chef John, be sure to subscribe to Food Wishes on YouTube! Click the “Join” button there to get Chef John’s bonus video footage and behind-the-scenes pictures, live chats, and other Food Wishes member exclusives.
Autumn is harvest season, so it’s only natural to celebrate by cooking with fall’s bounty of colorful squashes. We’ve consulted with some of our favorite top chefs to share their best pumpkin recipes and butternut squash recipes.
The recipes are organized in the progression of a meal, from starters like vegan pumpkin broth and butternut squash salad to a sweet ending of pumpkin hand pies — and even a nightcap of pumpkin hot buttered rum! Get ready to fall into the season and feast on pumpkin and squash. After all, the orange gourd is loaded with health benefits.
1. Pumpkin Broth with Fideos Recipe
237 Saint James Pl.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Chef Michael Solomonov of Zahav restaurant in Philadelphia put his own spin on pumpkin soup with this lighter version spiced with cinnamon, ginger and cloves. We especially love that it’s vegan!
1 onion, halved
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 red kuri or acorn squash, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces, skin and seeds reserved
1 cup crushed tomatoes
1 cinnamon stick
1 (2-inch) piece ginger, sliced
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup fideos
2 cups shredded kale
½ cup pearl onions
Method: Heat a cast iron pan over high heat until smoking, about 3 minutes. Add the onion halves, cut side down, to the pan and cook undisturbed until the onion has a black layer of char across it, about 5 minutes. Reserve.
For the broth, warm 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the squash skin and seeds and cook, stirring occasionally, until the color darkens and some squash residue begins sticking to the bottom of the pot, about 5 minutes. Add 2 quarts water, the reserved onion, tomatoes, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 hour.
Strain, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible, and return the broth to the pot.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the fideos with 1 teaspoon of the oil and arrange on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven until the fideos have darkened in color and smell a bit nutty, about 4 minutes. (Watch them closely they go from perfectly toasted to burned quickly.) Set aside.
Toss the squash with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, arrange on a baking sheet, and roast until dark brown but not fully cooked, about 15 minutes.
Return the broth to a simmer and add the kale and pearl onions. Simmer until the vegetables just begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the roasted squash and toasted fideos and cook, stirring, until the soup has thickened and the fideos are tender, about 4 more minutes. Serve immediately in bowls.
Recipe courtesy Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook (published by Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
2. Butternut Squash & Kohlrabi Salad Recipe
Girl & The Goat
809 W. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60607
Kohlrabi salad is a staple on the menu at chef Stephanie Izard’s Girl & The Goat restaurant in Chicago. This variation, highlighting shaved butternut squash, pears, mushrooms and a ginger dressing, is perfect for a meal on a crisp fall day.
2 heads red oak lettuce, cut into 2-inch strips, cleaned and washed
1 head kohlrabi, peeled, quartered and shaved very thin on a mandolin
1 small head fennel, halved, core cut out and shaved thin on a mandolin
12 ea. shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, tops cut in half
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup Evalon cheese, shaved
2 tablespoons mint, torn into small pieces
1/4 cup nicoise olives, finely chopped
1 ea. (approximately one cup) small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and peeled into shavings
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 ea. pear, shaved on a mandolin
1/8 cup ginger dressing (recipe below)
salt and pepper
Method: Toss mushrooms in oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 300 degrees until wilted and slightly colored, about 15 minutes. Set aside and let cool.
Mix all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Top with ginger dressing, plate and serve.
1/2 cup minced peeled fresh ginger (about 3 ounces)
1/2 cup minced shallot
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 cup grapeseed or blended oil (half vegetable, half olive oil)
freshly ground black pepper
In a blender, combine the ginger, shallot, mustard, vinegar, yolk, soy sauce, and syrup. On low speed, slowly drizzle in the grapeseed oil until the dressing is smooth and thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
Hot Buttered Rum Recipe
My husband, Dave, teases me about being a Michigan girl and tells me I’m not supposed to get cold in the winter. I reply that it’s not that we don’t get cold, we just know how to warm up!
I first had Hot Buttered Rum after the end-of-year regatta at the Indianapolis Sailing Club, where I’d crewed on a friend’s boat. Instantly, it was my favorite winter warm-up, reserved for special times with friends.
When Dave and I were invited to try ice boating close to twenty years ago, I brought along the makings for Hot Buttered Rum. It was a huge hit, and every time the lake froze solidly and smoothly enough, we’d get a call inviting us to join in – “oh, and can you bring the Hot Buttered Rum?”
Ice boating is an absolute riot. Think of a Hobie Cat on ice skates!
Got a late start heading south and feeling it as you come down the ICW? Hot Buttered Rum is a great end-of-day reward for miles gained.
This winter, we’re cruising Florida. While we may not get any sub-freezing days, it’s still the perfect warm-up drink after a chilly day on the water!
If you’re a weekend boater who’s still sailing in the chilly fall, this is a great make-ahead recipe. Keep a big batch in your home freezer and take a smaller container on the boat.
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 pinch ground cloves
- 1 pinch salt
- 6 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 ⅛ cups dark rum
- 4 ½ cups boiling water, or as needed
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg, or to taste
Place butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, clove, and salt for batter into a mixing bowl and cream together with a spatula until well combined.
To make the drink, place about 2 tablespoons of the batter into a festive, heat-proof mug. Add 1 tablespoon cream, 3 tablespoons rum, and fill halfway up with some of the boiling water. Stir with a spoon until the batter dissolves and top off more water. Garnish with a pinch of nutmeg. Repeat until all 6 drinks are prepared and serve immediately.
Then turn down the heat and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.
High heat will evaporate alcohol. Make sure it is no longer boiling when you add the booze.
Tips & FAQ's:
Can I make this ahead of time?
Sure, follow the instructions up to the part where you add the rum.
Once you add the alcohol it cannot be re-heated. Cut the recipe in half if you won't be able to finish it all.
Can I add more alcohol?
Sure. Our recipes are guides, you're the boss. Add as much of whatever as you like.
Obligatory message: Indulge in alcohol responsibly.
Alcohol affects low carb dieters differently. You might find yourself tipsy faster than you're used to.
Check out this post on Ketosis and alcohol to know what to expect.
Do you have any other Christmas type recipes?
So glad you asked lol. Check out this big round up of 99 Fantastical Low Carb Holiday Recipes!
That's It for the Low Carb Hot Buttered Rum Recipe!
This recipe is traditionally chock full of sugar and would never even be considered by someone who's living the low carb lifestyle.
But I have discovered that with a few tweaks you can replicate just about any recipe you want.
I gave up drinking alcohol some time ago but Thom likes to indulge every once in a while.
He seeks out new and exciting versions of his favorite drinks and hot buttered rum is definitely one of them.
I think it's important to not feel like you are missing out when you are heading down a new healthier lifestyle path.
Hot Buttered Rum
Nearly everyone has heard of this cold-weather classic, but few have tasted it. It dates from early America, when politicians buttered up constituents with this drink. And perhaps it goes without saying, but this must served steaming hot, not lukewarm.
It is best to make the batter in advance so the spices have an opportunity to mingle. Be sure to remove the batter from the refrigerator at least 6 hours before serving to allow it to soften. The recipe for the batter makes enough for 10 to 12 servings refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 month, or freeze for up to 2 months.
For the batter: Beat together the brown sugar, butter, spices and vanilla extract until well combined. Refrigerate in an airtight resealable container until ready to use.
For each drink: Combine 2 heaping tablespoons of the batter and the rum in a warmed coffee mug. Add boiling water to fill to the top, and mix well. Serve with a spoon.