Hot Buttered Rum

Recently, Leah and I took a trip down to D.C. and visited my other cousin, Carlie. Carlie has lived down that direction ever since college, and it was time Leah and I pay her a visit. We are fortunate to all be so close, I feel like I am the literal link in between them, Leah a cousin from my mom’s side and Carlie is from my dad’s. We all enjoy history, museums of all types, and food.

Leah and I got brunch one morning on our trip at George Washington’s place. It was cozy, all of Mount Vernon was festive, and the food was so delectable. There was one thing we were a little put out by though, when we ordered a hot buttered rum we were told that they were out of butter. Only under the understanding that this was an old-timey drink, we wondered how one could be out of butter.

Well now we know!

Leah was excited to send me a recipe for a hot buttered rum before Shane and I headed up to Connecticut for the New Year. It seemed simple enough, a stick of butter, three-fourths cup of brown sugar and various spices. Everyone was intrigued as we began to mix it up in my Kim’s pretty little bowl and soon we had “orders” to fill for various family members.


When people asked Leah and I about it and where we got the idea to make it, we kept answering with, “It is a traditional holiday drink. They had it on the menu at Mount Vernon.” Suffice to say, we didn’t actually know much beyond that, but upon returning home, I actually found out more about the warm goodness that we stirred up for the family.

Unlike a hot toddy, this drink is a little more “American” because of the use of rum. More specifically, it is a little bit more of a New England drink because of their history with molasses rum and the rum trade.


Meanwhile, having it served at Mount Vernon made sense as well because apparently in the American Heritage Cookbook it says the drink found it’s way into domestic politics in George Washington’s time. The rum mixture was used to sway constituents and influence votes. Fortunately, we made it to just enjoy, no ulterior motives.

Once our butter batter was in our mugs, we poured an ounce or two of black spiced rum, depending on what people wanted.


Next was whistling hot water. We used approximately six or eight ounces. Here is where I later read that the whole idea of oil and water not mixing and the drink not having a very good visual appeal. Going into this little experiment with out having even thought of that, we topped our warm drinks with Kelly’s homemade whipped cream. Apparently doing that or a dollop of ice-cream can take away from that “oil versus water” look too.


With a dash of cinnamon on top, the traditional drink was ready to serve with the wonderful desserts that made their debuts here and there in the kitchen.


It was a drink that warmed you through and through. We discovered served with a spoon or stir stick would probably be best since the sugar tended to settle towards the bottom. It is well worth mixing up a double batch to keep on hand in your freezer or fridge for a cold winter day!

Hot Buttered Rum Butter Batter

  • 1 stick of salted butter
  • 3/4 cups of light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground cloves, feel free to omit

Combine above ingredients. Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator if you don’t use it all.

Hot Buttered Rum

  • 2 tablespoons butter batter
  • 1-2 oz of dark spiced rum
  • 6-8 oz of boiling water
  • Top with whipped cream or ice-cream to avoid seeing separation of liquids
  • Dust with cinnamon




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