Hot Buttered Rum

Hot buttered rum with a cinnamon garnish
The Spruce
  • Total: 10 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Serving: 1 serving

Hot buttered rum is a favorite winter drink and it's irresistible. It is both sweet and warm, which is just the kind of comfort you want on the coldest days of the year. In the United States, the drink dates back to colonial times, but warming beverages, in general, have a longer and broader history. There are a number of ways to make this popular drink and two are included here for you to choose from, depending on your mood.

The main hot buttered rum recipe is very simple and can be used to quickly mix up one or two drinks at a moment's notice. If you're a big fan of the cocktail or plan to serve it at a party, you can also make up a big batch that can be stored in the refrigerator so all you have to do is pour, stir, and drink.

When it's time to pour, make sure the water isn't boiling hot because that may ruin the flavors of the drink. Approach the water as though you were making a pot of Earl Grey tea. Otherwise, feel free to customize this recipe by using more or less butter if you like; a tablespoon is common and it's in the recipe here, but it's a little richer with 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter. Adjust the spices to suit you, if desired.

Just one note: If you prefer whiskey, make the switch and mix up a hot buttered whiskey.

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Click Play to See This Hot Buttered Rum Recipe Come Together

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon ​brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter (soft)
  • 1 dash ​​ground cinnamon
  • 1 dash ​ground nutmeg
  • 1 dash ​ground allspice
  • 1 splash vanilla extract
  • 2 ounces ​​rum (dark)
  • 5 ounces water (hot)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Hot buttered rum ingredients
    The Spruce 
  2. Place the sugar, butter, and spices into the bottom of an Irish coffee glass or mug and mix well or muddle.

    Muddling butter and spices for hot buttered rum
    The Spruce
  3. Pour in the rum and top it with hot water.

    Hot buttered rum in a glass
    The Spruce
  4. Stir. Serve and enjoy!

    Hot buttered rum with cinnamon stick garnish
    The Spruce

How Strong Is Hot Buttered Rum?

Hot buttered rum is a gently spiked drink. Its alcohol content will be determined by how much water you pour. If you're precise in measuring 5 ounces of hot water and pour an 80-proof rum, the drink weighs in around 10 percent ABV (20 proof). No matter what, it's always going to be in the same range as wines.

Recipe Variations

  • Make a Batch of Batter: Mix together 3 cups brown sugar, 1/2 cup unsalted butter, 3 tablespoons honey, 1 tablespoon rum extract (or 1/2 tablespoon dark rum), 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1 teaspoon ground allspice, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon using an electric mixer until everything is blended together. Yield: Batter for about 25 servings.
  • Store the batter in a well-sealed jar in the refrigerator until needed. It will be ready for the first drink after about one hour and keeps well for a few weeks.
  • Many hot buttered rum fans prefer to form their batter into a log. This makes it easy to slice off one piece at a time whenever you want a drink. To do this, place the batter onto a sheet of plastic wrap and use it to shape a long roll that's about 2 inches thick. Wrap it up tightly, place it in an air-tight container or plastic zip-close bag and store it in the refrigerator; it will also freeze for up to 3 months.
  • To make a drink, pour a shot (1 1/2 ounces) of rum into a mug, add a heaping spoonful of the batter, then top it with hot water.
  • The big-batch batter mix is fantastic on its own when topped with hot water. Skip the liquor entirely, add a little cream if you like, and 2 teaspoons of rum extract to one serving, and you'll have a warm, soothing mocktail.

Alternate Mixing Method

If you're looking for a fun way to mix your hot buttered rum, try using a red hot poker. The heat naturally melds all the flavors together, creating a luscious, steaming drink. It is great for camping and can be used for caramelizing dark beer, too.

It takes some patience, so go slowly and take care not to burn yourself. Also, the thicker the glass, the better; heftier beer mugs with handles are perfect.

Choose a clean, thick rod and let it sit in the fire until it is red hot.

Shake off any ashes and slowly put it into the finished drink, being careful not to touch the glass with the rod or it will shatter.


Leave it in for 10 or 15 seconds, remove the rod, and enjoy your hot drink.