Thirsty Writer, Libations Marketer
In sickness and in health, Americans’ love affair with rum harkens back to the mid-seventeenth century, when a thriving rum trade brought a bounty of barrels to colonial New England. A mere hundred years later, in 1750, there would be over sixty rum distilleries in Massachusetts alone quenching our ancestors’ thirst.
From toothaches to dessert cakes, rum was as much a cure-all as it was a kitchen staple. During the brutal winter months, taverns mixed rum with hot water, cider or beer and a variety of citrus, sugar, and spices to make grogs, toddies, flips, and a lasting holiday favorite: hot buttered rum.
Bob McCoy, Director of On-Premise Sales for Ipswich-based Privateer Rum calls hot buttered rum a quintessential cold-weather cocktail.” It’s indulgent and comforting and delicious with all those rich notes of barrel-aged rum, creamy butter, and winter spice.”
Distilled from sugarcane juice or molasses, rum’s earthy sweetness pairs well with holiday spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice. Aged rums like Privateer Amber add even more flavor thanks to time in wood casks, which give the rum notes of brûléed banana, apple pie, vanilla, and toffee. It’s no wonder hot buttered rum has stood the test of time – it’s essentially dessert in a mug.
Though there are many variations of this classic cocktail, McCoy’s version uses a homemade butter batter – a mix of butter, sugar, and spices. “Making a batter beforehand takes it over the top – this stuff is so tasty I spread it on my toast! It’s great for the drink because it avoids an oily residue and instead rests on top as this beautiful and smooth layer that melts into the drink, and in your mouth, as you continue to sip it.”
If you plan on making hot buttered rum for a crowd, or simply want to have the ingredients on hand during an inevitable nor’easter night, the batter freezes well – and the drink will warm you right up. And of course, butter makes everything better.
Hot Buttered Rum
1½ oz. Privateer True American Amber Rum
5-6 oz. hot water
1 heaping tbs. of Buttered Rum Batter*
Heat a tempered mug beforehand. In the hot mug, combine the rum and batter and fill halfway with hot water. Stir to incorporate the batter. Fill with hot water and garnish with grated nutmeg.
*Buttered Rum Batter
1 stick (4 oz.) of unsalted butter
½ cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon