Having emerged from the Polar Vortex, it’s time again for another unofficial drink day of indeterminate origin, and this time we are celebrating the goodness that is Hot-Buttered Rum in all of it’s caloric, fatty, alcoholic glory.
The origins of this drink probably date back the American colonial era and usually entails rum, butter, hot water, maybe even cider, a sweetener of some sort (usually brown sugar), and various aromatic “baking” spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
Here’s what our friend Warren Bobrow has to say about Hot Buttered Rum in his book Apothecary Cocktails: Restorative Drinks from Yesterday and Today from Fair Winds Press. It should be a “must buy” for every cocktail enthusiast or history geek in your life. Remember: Valentine’s Day is approaching!
The hot toddy cocktails we know and love today have their roots in the days of yore, when apothecaries might have prescribed them for relief against the aches and pains the Siberian-strength cold weather brings on. Hot toddies are cocktails in which hot or boiling water is added to spirits and other ingredients, and many of these tasty, warming tipples were created to ease cold and flu symptoms. Ships’ doctors of yesteryear may have delivered doses of this classic hot buttered rum to sailors to relieve aching bones and flagging spirits. Four magic ingredients—hot tea, sugar, butter, and rum—connect every sailor who’s ever had to head face-first into a full gale while out at sea. Today, this curative is a treat that goes down smoothly after a long day of skiing, hiking, or just sitting by the fire.