December 3: Hot Buttered Rum

by racheldemy

I will do my best to not make each post this month about food and/or drink. But seriously, what is this season about if you’re not warming yourself by ye olde gas stove? Each winter I obsess over perfecting a new-to-me cocktail, which largely means “classic” and “historically used for self-medication during parties”. December 2006 was all about mulled wine (a recipe I have continued to work on up until now); December 2009 was all about spiking the hot chocolate. A few weeks ago I was the recipient of some vanilla bean husks rolled in sugar, courtesy of Morgan at Dovetail Bakery. When clueless about what to do with an ingredient, my mind immediately turns to alcohol. Over 3 days, I infused Bacardi Silver and Jim Beam (to which I also added peppercorns) with the vanilla beans and decided to find a traditional Christmas rum recipe. The most obvious and most polarizing. Hot Buttered Rum.

Butter is not an ingredient most associate with a cocktail – or even something you drink, for that matter. I, however, am always taking the “50,000 Fall fans can’t be wrong” approach to just about anything, especially where dairy is concerned. From what I can tell on the internet, the Emeril Lagasse recipe  is truly is the way to go. I took some artistic liberties.


Hot Buttered Rum Ingredients

Standing (L to R): Le Creuset mortar and pestle, Whole Foods Vietnamese cinnamon, Fire King Jadeite mug, 3 oz of vanilla rum. Seated (L to R): 2 tbsp of salted butter, whole nutmeg, a zillion cloves. Not pictured: hot water and sugar (to taste).


Now, Emeril might know what he’s talking about but I have to focus on the fact of the matter: by following his recipe, you’re going to end up with a vat of whipped butter (it sounds great in theory; it’s really not). So, consider this the amended, drinking-alone-for-the-holidays version. Hot Buttered Rum For One.*

1) Put 2 tbsp of butter in mug.

2) Grind up 3 cloves in the mortar & pestle (or a spice grinder, if you’re nasty). Throw it in the mug.

3) Grate a pinch of nutmeg. Toss that in with the cloves, butter and a pinch of cinnamon.

4) Pour your house-infused vanilla rum over all of that and marvel at what you’re getting yourself into. If you don’t have rum, I’m sure hot buttered jägermeißter will blow your party guests’ minds.

5) Top with water from the tea kettle.

6) Stir until the butter is melted and sweeten to taste. Since my vanilla beans were coated in sugar, I didn’t really add any sweetener but I imagine that a few drops of maple syrup would be pretty ridiculous.

7) Put the Griswolds on the TV box and get drunk on the spirit of the season. Be sure to pour one out for me.


*Expert Tip: the smaller the mug, the more favorable the rum-to-water ratio.