Wait, is adding butter to a drink really a thing? (Yep and it’s delicious.)

Last week we made what is possibly the most famous hot drink, the Hot Toddy. So this week we thought we’d mix it up and try one that’s perhaps the most controversial… Hot Buttered Rum.

Trust me on this one?  OK, skip straight to the recipe!

The Origin. Or not.

After some research, I could not find a concrete answer as to when the hot buttered rum was created, and who originally came up with the recipe. This is particularly odd, because with most cocktail recipes there are several stories with several “inventors” of drinks… but not this time. In fact, David Wondrich says, (in his book, “Imbibe!”)

“History is silent as to where and when the spirits came into the picture, but eighteenth-century New England would have to rank high on any list of suspects.”

Let’s be honest. If David Wondrich can’t get to the bottom of it, I’m not even going to try!

Here’s how you make the Hot Buttered rum:

First let’s make the batter.

Yeah, you heard me. This is the only cocktail I know with “batter”. And it’s not terribly different from a cookie recipe – sans the flour, eggs, and leavening. (OK, maybe it’s pretty different.)

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Honey (Place the honey container in a bowl of warm water to make it easier to pour)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp Ground cloves
  • 1 pinch salt

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Then ideally you’ll refrigerate for a good 8-12 hours, as this will help the spices infuse into the butter. But we were in a bit of a rush and only gave it ~3 hours and it worked just fine.

Thirsty?  OK, now it’s time to make the drink!

First, pre-heat your heat-resistant glass or mug with hot water, then pour it out. (This helps keep your drink warmer, longer.) Then add:

  • 2 oz Rum
  • 2 Tbsp of batter
  • Top with hot water

And stir well until the batter has fully dissolved. Garnish with a cinnamon stick or studded lemon peel

Hot Buttered Rum Variations

Looking for other variations? Here are some ideas for different ingredients you can substitute into your cocktail to make other “Hot Buttered” drinks!

Beware the Dreaded Oil Slick

I’ll be honest, this drink is still a little weird to me. Unfortunately after the drink starts warm you’ll often start to see a bit of an oil slick start to appear across the top of the drink. Not appetizing nor delicious. So I did a bit of research and found some hacks to help mitigate the dreaded oil slick.

Ice Cream.

I read somewhere that a bartender was adding Ice cream to their batter mix, and it actually helped. In fact, if you look up the recipe on the web, you’ll see some recipes call for ice cream as well Arguably, it’s basically just adding more butter (pre-churned, aka cream) and sugar. I thought this was weird, but the flavors make sense.

Further research revealed the true reason: most commercial ice creams today contain some form of emulsifier like Xanthan Gum, Carob Gum, etc. It’s not actually the ice cream that’s helping avoid your oil slick, but rather the emulsifier that comes with it.

Hang on, I have Xantham Gum!

Yes, that’s a weird thing to have on hand, but here we are. So I added some to half our batter and we re-made the exact same cocktail to compare the results. You’ll have to watch the video to see how it turned out!

Got plans for Jan 17?

Oh, and I forgot to mention this, but Hot Buttered Rum Day is January 17th, so now you can make some in advance and have a batch of batter ready to celebrate next year!


This jigger has one job and it does it well. Measure your ingredients perfectly every time. It’s beautiful in copper and durable enough to keep up, even when you’re deep in the weeds!