Hot Buttered Rum Is a Cure For the Common Cold Snap

It’s been a week since Jacob Carey, a bartender at Never Never, left his home in Nashville, Tenn. From the Midwest to the South and Northeast, much of the U.S. has been socked in with snow, waiting for a vicious cold snap to lessen and feet of accumulation to melt away. But with no end in sight and more precipitation in the forecast, Carey recommends you follow the time-honored winter tradition of crafting yourself something warm to sip as you dream of spring. And that’s where the traditional hot buttered rum comes in.

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Combining melted butter, baking spices, and aged rum, this 300-year-old hot cocktail that dates back to colonial times, is comfort food during low temps and early evenings. “The concept of literally drinking melted butter is not in theory something we’re used to doing,” Carey says, “but it’s forgiven when it tastes so good.”

So warm the butter, raid your spice rack, and hump your happy ass down to the package store for a nice bottle of rum. Netflix is calling, and you’ve got some cold fingers to thaw.

Hot Buttered Rum

By Jacob Carey, Bartender at Never Never


  • 2 oz. Aged Rum
  • 1 oz. Honey Syrup (two-to-one ratio of honey to water)
  • Hot Water
  • 1 tsp. Combined Cinnamon, Clove, All-Spice
  • 1 Pad (approx. 1 tbs.) Unsalted Butter


  1. Fold cinnamon, clove, and all-spice mixture into warmed butter (a few seconds in the microwave or stovetop to covert it into a liquid is enough)
  2. From a just-boiled kettle of water, fill a 12-ounce mug to pre-heat for 30 seconds. Discard.
  3. Pour melted butter mixture into the mug, adding in honey syrup and aged rum
  4. Add hot water to top off, stir, and enjoy

What You Need to Know

While hot buttered rum has been a winter mainstay for centuries, you’ll rarely find it at bars, according to Carey, unless a staff member got a wild hair that morning and mixed the butter before work. Still, it’s remarkably easy to make at home, drawing on common ingredients you may not have considered in the context. It’s rich, so don’t expect to have more than two without requiring a triple bypass. For pairings, hew close to its type with a warm fruit pie or cut against the sweetness with a Kosher-salted pretzel and spicy mustard.

Looking for more variety? There are a host of substitutions Carey recommends, including making it with a spiced cider packet instead of honey. A spiced rum is also a popular addition, though he cautions against it because of the lack of control over the finished product. Finally, consider your attire, giving a nod to the dusty tenured professors of yore who sipped the drink in studies lined with wall-to-wall books. “It’s helpful if you’re wearing a turtleneck that day,” he says. “It goes with the drink, for sure.”

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