Hot Buttered Rum The Real Way

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Yes, winter is finally here in all its brisk and snappy glory. Of course I live in Southern California and as of this writing, it’s 80 degrees outside. But I’m a New England boy at heart and winter will always be a snowy time of year in my mind’s eye. And even for us Left-coasters, when the temperatures drop, a hot and boozy beverage is the perfect hand, belly and heart warmer. I’m partial to a glorious mug of buttery, spicy goodness – a Hot Buttered Rum. Turns out this classic drink has its roots in New England.

During Colonial days, New England was a big player in the rum industry, with hundreds of distilleries throughout the region. Who knew? According to my research, New Englanders consumed more than five gallons of rum per person per year. I guess it makes sense that if you are drinking that much rum, you probably are looking for lots of different ways to consume it. For argument’s sake, let’s just say that’s when the Hot Buttered Rum was conceived.

Regardless, I am personally grateful for the inspiration. And while I sit here in my shorts and t-shirt, I’m going to pretend it’s blustery outside, while I sip and savor this marvelous holiday beverage!

Photos by Karyn L. Giss

Hot Buttered Rum


  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 ounces dark or aged rum
  • 6 ounces hot water
  • Cinnamon stick, for garnish


  1. In mixing bowl, combine softened butter, vanilla extract, sugar, spices and salt. Mix well to form a “batter.”
  2. In heat-proof glass or mug, combine rum with 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of batter. Remaining batter can be stored in the fridge for future use.
  3. Stir in piping hot water. Garnish with cinnamon stick.
  4. Makes one drink. Sip and enjoy!

David Pitlik is a corporate writer by day, a comedy writer from a previous life, and a lover of great food, wonderful drink and sparkling banter with good friends.

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