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Hot Buttered Rum

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Hot buttered rum is the perfect cozy cocktail to warm you up on a winter’s night and perfect for easy entertaining.

Another warm cocktail recipe that needs to be in your winter rotation — hot buttered rum! ♡

I have to admit I was late to the party when it came to this classic rum cocktail, having spent years usually turning to mulled wine or a hot toddy once the weather grew cold. But while living in Europe, we were (re)introduced to various versions of this creamy spiced cocktail and were quickly reminded why it’s been such a favorite now for centuries. It’s absolutely delightful! And, as it turns out, a super convenient cocktail for large groups if you happen to be entertaining around the holidays.

This colonial-era cocktail is said to have originally been made by floating a pat of butter atop a mug filled with hot water and rum. But most modern versions usually kick things up a notch by adding a spiced butter batter to the cocktail, made with warming spices, sugar, a pinch of salt, and — the surprise starring ingredient — a few scoops of vanilla ice cream. It only takes a few minutes to mix up a batch of the butter batter, then you can pop it in the freezer to have on hand all season long to mix with rum and hot water for an impromptu single cocktail or a big batch for a dinner party with friends. We’ve found it to be such a fun drink to serve at winter gatherings and everyone always loves the creamy, frothing topping served with a cute cinnamon stick for garnish.

So if you’re looking for a cozy cocktail to warm up with this season, grab a bottle of rum and let’s make a batch!

Hot Buttered Rum Ingredients

Here are a few quite notes about the hot buttered rum ingredients you will need to make this recipe:

  • Dark rum: I really recommend using dark rum in this recipe, which has a more complex and intense caramel flavor than light rum. That said, light rum will also totally work here, or you can use a spiced rum which will add to the spices in the butter batter.
  • Spiced butter batter: Our spiced butter batter butter is quick and easy to make with creamy vanilla ice cream, white and brown sugars, a mixture of warming spices (ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves) and a pinch of sea salt. We’ll freeze the mixture, and then you’re welcome to just dip in for a scoop whenever you’d like to make a cocktail!
  • Boiling water: We’ll add boiling water to the rum and frozen butter batter mixture to ensure that the drink is nice and warm.
  • Garnish (optional): Finally, you’re welcome to garnish your drink with a cinnamon stick or star anise if you’d like, or you’re also welcome to add a swirl of whipped cream on top.

Hot Buttered Rum Tips

Full instructions for how to make hot buttered are included in the full recipe below, but here are a few additional tips to keep in mind:

  • Use a good-quality rum: The flavor of your rum will really shine through in this cocktail, so I recommend a mid- to higher-priced dark rum whose flavor you love.
  • Adjust ingredient ratios to taste: Feel free to give the cocktail a taste and add more rum, butter batter or water to taste.
  • Sweeten to taste: I find this cocktail to be plenty sweet as written, but you’re welcome to stir in some extra sugar or maple syrup (or your desired sweetener) if needed.
  • Serve in pre-warmed mugs: To keep the cocktail nice and hot, I recommend warming your mugs beforehand.

Hot Buttered Rum Variations

Here are a few optional variations that you are welcome to try when making this hot buttered rum recipe:

  • Add ginger: Stir a thin slice of fresh ginger into your cocktail for an extra kick of ginger spice.
  • Add citrus: Add an orange slice to the cocktail or add some orange zest to the spiced butter batter for extra citrus.
  • Use a different liquor: Use your favorite whiskey, brandy or cognac in place of the rum.
  • Use tea: Use your favorite tea (I would recommend a black tea) in place of the water.
  • Make it dairy-free: Use your favorite dairy-free vanilla ice cream and butter in the spiced butter batter.

More Warm Winter Drinks To Try

Looking for more cozy warm drinks and cocktails to try this winter? Here are a few of our favorites:

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Hot Buttered Rum

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 2 reviews
  • Author: Ali
  • Prep Time: 1 mins
  • Cook Time: 2 mins
  • Total Time: 3 mins
  • Yield: 1 serving 1x


Hot buttered rum is the perfect cozy cocktail to warm you up on a winter’s night and perfect for easy entertaining.



Individual Cocktail Ingredients (Single Serving):

  • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) dark rum
  • 2 tablespoons spiced butter batter
  • 6 to 8 ounces boiling water
  • optional: cinnamon stick or star anise, for garnish

Spiced Butter Batter Ingredients (32 servings):

  • 2 cups vanilla ice cream, lightly softened
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened to room temperature
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt


  1. Make the spiced rum batter. Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir (or use an electric beater to mix) until evenly combined and smooth. Freeze the batter in an airtight container until ready to use.
  2. Mix the cocktail. Briefly stir together the rum and 2 tablespoons of the spiced rum batter in a heat-safe mug. Add your desired amount of boiling water and stir until the batter is melted and evenly combined.
  3. Serve. Serve warm and enjoy!


Prep time: Prep time listed above is for a single cocktail, with the spiced butter batter previously mixed. The butter batter takes about 10 minutes to prep on its own.

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2 comments on “Hot Buttered Rum”

  1. Ali, my mother made me someting similar when I had asthma &/or a cold, which I had often as a child even though it was never cold in Puerto Rico. I never knew how she made it, so I’ve made something similar for my husband Tony who gets frequest colds and had Covid twice. Now that I have the recipe I’ll save it for our freezing winter nights in Flamingo Heights. Having no body heat I can’t get warm enough even with layers and layers of clothes and sweaters. One ?? can I substitute heavy/whipping cream for the ice cream since I don’t sweeten my coffee?
    PS: MORE MORE MORE sweet son fotos por favor. Es tan bello. Y muchos besos para él. Feliz Navidad para todos.

  2. Made the batter for this on Wednesday. Served it last night after a Christmas concert. It was a big hit! I have plenty of the batter left I’ve for other holiday gatherings or maybe just one for myself tonight. So Good!