Monday, November 22, 2010

'Tis the Season for Hot Buttered Rum

One of my Twitter pals recently was recommended a delightful remedy for a sore throat: Hot buttered rum. It's one of my favorite parts of chilly nights, and it's dead simple to make! The first thing to do is to make the hot buttered rum batter. All you need are:

1 stick butter, softened
1/2 pound dark brown sugar (or 1 cup plus a little extra if you don't feel like weighing it)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 pinch salt

Mix it all together well (the KitchenAid mixer for about 3 or 4 minutes on medium comes in handy here, but a wooden spoon and bowl will work too), and store it in the fridge. As far as I can tell, it keeps indefinitely; I've left a forgotten batch in the back of the fridge for over a year and it still tasted just fine.

Now that you have your batter, making the hot buttered rum itself goes much faster. Get out an Irish coffee glass or a favorite small coffee mug (8 ounces works pretty well). Add 1 ounce light rum, a generous teaspoonful of the hot buttered rum batter, and top up the mug with boiling hot water (the cold ingredients will bring it down to a drinkable temperature). Garnish with a cinnamon stick, and you're good to go. For bonus points at outdoor gatherings, have everything you need out near the fire (with hot water in a thermal carafe), and keep a poker in the fire. When you serve up a hot buttered rum, dip the poker in the finished drink to give it a little extra warmth. Naturally, if you do this, don't fill the cups all the way to the rim! The hot buttered rum batter is nicely versatile; most any dark spirit works well. Hot buttered Scotch or Bourbon are both very nice.

I feel somewhat compelled to mention: Be conservative with the booze for hot buttered rum. If you make big mugs of hot buttered rum, the second half of the drink will be Lukewarm Buttered Rum, something not nearly as enjoyable. Heat brings out alcohol flavors, and the rum will quickly dominate if you try to add more to a normal size drink. Most importantly, hot drinks are mighty potent relaxation devices, and you don't want your whole party to fall asleep.