Hot Buttered Rum is a drink that makes ears perk up. Even if you’ve never tasted one, hearing the words “hot”, “buttered”, and “rum” strung together usually conjures up visions of a decadent, soothing libation almost too delicious to bear, and when done right it certainly can be. But this is a tricky one to get right.
The keys to making good hot buttered rum are not so different from those for other cocktails – use good ingredients and follow the rules. But get this one wrong and the drink is not just off, it’s a big greasy disappointment. Which is how my first attempt came out years ago.
These guidelines will put you on the right path:
- Measure very accurately, even the water
- Use good butter and good rum (one with a deep amber color)
- Get the rum very hot
- Whatever you do, don’t skip the nutmeg – freshly grated is best
I also highly recommend a darker sugar like demerara or turbinado. Also, keep a spoon handy – as you sip this drink, the butter may coagulate on the top – for an occasional quick stir.
Hot Buttered Rum
- 2 ounces aged rum
- ¾ ounce rich demerara syrup – see below – or a little less than 1½ tablespoon raw demerara or turbinado sugar
- 4 ounces water
- ½ tablespoon unsalted butter - about 1 pat
- grated nutmeg for garnish
On the Stove – Place butter in a small mug. Combine rum, syrup and water in a small pot or saucepan. Cover and heat until barely bubbling. Pour mixture into the mug, and stir until the butter is melted. Grate a heavy dose of nutmeg on top.
In the Microwave – Combine rum, syrup and water in a small mug and microwave for 1 minute.Add butter and stir until butter it is completely melted. Bring on the nutmeg
- 1 cup demerara or turbinado sugar (“sugar in the raw”)
- ½ cup water
Combine in a small pot over low heat (or microwave for 1 minute) and stir until dissolved. Do not boil.
Browned Butter Infused Rum – One the best hot buttered rums I ever had was made with rum infused with browned butter. This adds delicious nutty and caramelized flavors, as well as more buttery richness (but without extra oiliness). It involves a techniques called fat-washing, which is the same technique used to infuse bacon into bourbon. It requires extra preparation, but is well worth it.
Browned Butter Infused Rum (1 Bottle)
- Brown the butter - Melt 2 sticks of unsalted butter in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Once melted, turn heat to low. The butter will bubble, then foam, then turn a clear golden brown and those caramelized aromas will begin wafting up, signaling completion. It should take about 3-4 minutes, depending on the heat. Remove from the heat, pour into a heat proof container and let cool for a minute or two. Those dark specs that collected at the bottom of the pan are burned milk proteins. You can leave them behind, but don’t worry too much if a little comes along for the ride.
- Add the rum and freeze - Pour one bottle of aged rum into the container with the butter, but do not stir! It’s counterintuitive, but the result is much better if you let the butter and rum work things out themselves. Place the mixture in the freezer for about 24 hours.
- Remove solids and strain - The following day remove the container from the freezer. The butter will have solidified in a layer on the top, though plenty of flavor will have been left behind. Poke a hole in it and remove as many of the solids as you can. If you’re lucky, it will come out in one big slab. Pour the rum through a kitchen strainer to remove any remaining solids, and refrigerate. Done!
The drink recipe is almost identical with this rum, only you don’t need quite as much sugar because of the added sweetness from those “Maillard” (browning) reactions.
Hot Browned Buttered Rum
- 2 ounce browned butter-infused aged rum (above)
- ½ oz rich demerara syrup
- 4 ounces hot water
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- grated nutmeg for garnish
Prepare as above.
CheeseSticks Pairing – John Wm. Macy’s Java Cinnamon Sweetsticks, hands down!
About the author
Tom Macy is on a personal mission to help us all make and drink better cocktails. His recently launched website, socialhourcocktails.com, is full of in-depth advice on cocktail recipes, techniques, tools and a whole lot more. He also teaches cocktail classes at the Brooklyn Kitchen and has dozens of cocktail videos on YouTube. He looks forward to connecting with CheeseSticks fans and offering his advice on constructing the perfect cocktail to go with "the perfect crunch!" Tom lives in Brooklyn with his wife Ellen and their two daughters, Willow and Violet.