Chef John's Hot Buttered Rum


While eggnog gets a lot more press, hot buttered rum is the ultimate festive holiday drink. So rich, so delicious, so satisfying, and super easy to make.

Prep Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
15 mins
6 drinks

I was fortunate to have grown up with many wonderful holiday traditions, like hunting for and cutting down the perfect Christmas tree, sleigh rides, caroling, Midnight Mass, and, of course, the Feast of the Seven Fishes. But one thing I don't remember being any kind of annual ritual was enjoying fancy holiday drinks. We didn't make eggnog, hot toddies, or mulled wine. We certainly didn't make hot buttered rum. Unless the adults were partaking in private, of course (which is a possibility, since cell phones weren't invented yet, and secrets were so much easier to keep back then).

Other than the occasional hot chocolate, I don't remember enjoying any of these iconic beverages. But as a wise man once said, "It's never too late to have a happy childhood," which is what I'm doing here thanks to my new best friend, Hot Buttered Rum. Ah, the memories. And no, I'm not suggesting you give alcoholic drinks to kids. You can make their drinks with a little rum extract instead of the actual booze.

By the way, the "batter" for this drink (the sweet and buttery base) will keep a very long time in the fridge or the freezer. That means this holiday drink can be enjoyed year-round if you make a nice large batch now. Of course, "can be" and "should be" aren't the same things — so as they say at the end of every liquor commercial, please drink responsibly. Now that we've covered that, I'll finish up by saying, I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

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For the Batter:

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • ½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

  • ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • teaspoon ground ginger

  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • teaspoon ground cardamom

  • 1 pinch ground cloves

  • 1 pinch salt

For the Drinks:

  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream

  • 1 ⅛ cups dark rum

  • 4 ½ cups boiling water, or as needed

  • teaspoon ground nutmeg, or to taste


  1. Place butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, clove, and salt for batter into a mixing bowl and cream together with a spatula until well combined.

  2. To make the drink, place about 2 tablespoons of the batter into a festive, heat-proof mug. Add 1 tablespoon cream, 3 tablespoons rum, and fill halfway up with some of the boiling water. Stir with a spoon until the batter dissolves and top off more water. Garnish with a pinch of nutmeg. Repeat until all 6 drinks are prepared and serve immediately.


Chef's Notes:

Batter can be used immediately or rolled into a log in plastic wrap and refrigerated until needed.

If you'd prefer to use white rum, go ahead.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

356 Calories
21g Fat
19g Carbs
1g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 356
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 21g 27%
Saturated Fat 13g 66%
Cholesterol 61mg 20%
Sodium 45mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 19g 7%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 18g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 38mg 3%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 47mg 1%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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