Mom’s Hot Buttered Rum

Over the years I have enjoyed many different versions of this traditional winter drink, but Mom’s Hot Buttered Rum is still my favorite. I remember having my first small and very weak taste of this drink when I was seven or eight years old. We moved into the country shortly after my seventh birthday, and I remember sitting in front of the wood and coal heating stove in the living room of that small house feeling very grown up as I shared a holiday cup with Mom and Dad.

Mom stored a pint bottle of brandy in a kitchen cabinet that she used to make hot toddies for anyone with a bad cold in the winter. For us kids, her recipe was a tablespoon of brandy, two tablespoons of lemon juice, two tablespoons of sugar, a cup of boiling water and a dash or two of nutmeg. After we had finished our medicine, she would rub our chests with Vicks VapoRub, help us into warm pajamas and send us to bed. As I recall, her cure worked pretty well.

Her recipe for hot buttered rum was even simpler than the one for her toddies. She bought a pint of rum for it before Christmas every year. I make it today with unsalted butter, but Mom used regular salted butter, and it tastes good with either kind. Here is how to make an eight ounce cup of that wonderfully warming holiday drink.


1 cup hot water

1 1/2 oz. (1 jigger) rum

1 T unsalted butter

1 T brown sugar

Dash of cinnamon

Dash of nutmeg


Make sure that the butter is at room temperature.

Bring two cups of water to boiling and fill a cup with hot water. When the cup is hot to the touch, empty out the water and put the butter, brown sugar and rum into the cup. Add enough hot water to fill the the cup and stir until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved. Top with dashes of cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir and enjoy.

NOTES: Feel free to experiment with the quantities of butter and sugar, but my advice is not to increase the amount of rum. These warmers are treacherous.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: