Hot Buttered Rum

published Oct 18, 2023
Hot Buttered Rum Recipe

Make this classic winter cocktail with warming spices, rich butter, and dark rum for the coziest night in.

Serves4 to 6

Makes4 cups

Prep5 minutes

Cook5 minutes

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Angled view of a glass of hot buttered rum topped with whipped cream and a cinnamon stick resting in it.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Stylist: Rachel Perlmutter

Few things are cozier than a warm cocktail, and a hot buttered rum — complete with warming spices, rich butter, and dark rum — is no exception. Hot buttered rum dates all the way back to colonial times. During the 1650s, the American colonies started importing molasses from Jamaica. As a result, rum distilleries began popping up in New England, which led to the popularization of rum in toddies and eggnog, and the eventual creation of the hot buttered rum.

One (of many!) things I love about hot buttered rum is you can make the base ahead of time. The spiced butter mixture, which is referred to as the “batter,” can be prepped and chilled for a full week before use. I like to top mine with a generous dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg for an extra-decadent touch.

Ingredients in Hot Buttered Rum

  • Batter. A mixture of softened butter, warming spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, brown sugar, and vanilla extract make up the flavorful base of hot buttered rum.
  • Hot water. Similar to tea, you want your water “hot but not too hot,” so it doesn’t ruin the delicate flavors of the cocktail. After boiling, give the water about 30 seconds to cool before pouring into the drinks.
  • Rum. Use smoky-sweet dark rum for this cocktail and save the lighter stuff for chilled drinks.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Stylist: Rachel Perlmutter

How to Make Hot Buttered Rum

  • Make the batter. Use an electric hand mixer or stand mixer to mix softened butter with brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice until smooth.
  • Boil water. Bring water to a boil, then let it sit for a few seconds to cool slightly before adding.
  • Mix the cocktail. Combine batter, hot water, and dark rum until blended and frothy.
  • Serve. Pour hot buttered rum into mugs and top as you like with whipped cream, freshly grated nutmeg, and cinnamon sticks for stirring as you drink.

If You’re Making Hot Buttered Rum, a Few Tips 

  • Cut down on dishes. A 4-cup measuring cup works well as a mixing vessel and avoids the use of smaller measuring cups.
  • Break out the frother. For an extra-foamy top, use an electric frother after pouring into individual mugs.
  • Add whipped cream. Top with a dollop of whipped cream for an extra-special treat.
  • Swap out the rum. If rum isn’t your thing, try Irish whiskey or bourbon in its place.

Hot Buttered Rum Recipe

Make this classic winter cocktail with warming spices, rich butter, and dark rum for the coziest night in.

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 5 minutes

Makes 4 cups

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the batter:

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick)

    unsalted butter

  • 2/3 cup

    packed dark brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon

    ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly grated nutmeg, plus more for sprinkling

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    ground allspice or ground cloves

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

For the cocktails:

  • 2 cups

    water

  • 1 cup

    dark rum

  • 2 cups

    whipped cream (optional)

  • 4

    (4-inch) long cinnamon sticks

Instructions

  1. Place 1 stick unsalted butter in a medium heatproof bowl (or stand mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment) and let sit at room temperature until softened.

  2. Add 2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice or ground cloves, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Beat with an electric hand mixer on high speed until fluffy and smooth, about 2 minutes.

  3. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a kettle or medium saucepan. Let the water cool slightly so it isn’t actively bubbling, about 30 seconds. Carefully pour the water into the butter mixture. Add 1 cup dark rum and beat with the mixer on medium speed until the butter is dissolved and the mixture is frothy, 1 to 2 minutes.

  4. Divide between 4 mugs. Top with whipped cream if desired. Sprinkle with more freshly grated nutmeg. Garnish each mug with a cinnamon stick.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The butter mixture can be made up to 1 week ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container. Let sit at room temperature until softened before adding the hot water and proceeding with the recipe.