The 12 Drinks of Christmas – Fifth Drink

Decadence is the order of the day, as it almost always is during the holidays. It seems like we play by slightly different rules during this time of year. We are a little more free with our budgets. Whether, this means extra gifts for people and charitable giving, which is always a good thing or going a little heavier on the sweets. The holidays are a time for indulgence. I am not casting stones here, I had a red velvet cupcake for breakfast, so I am in no position to judge. I am, however in a position to enable and this evening’s drink is seriously decadent. So in that spirit, please join me for the fifth of The 12 Drinks of Christmas. Sing along at home, if you like, because, “For the fifth drink of Christmas, Uncle Monkey made for me, a Hot Buttered Rum.”

Historically, I don’t like hot cocktails. It is not their fault, it’s not them, it is me. There is something about them that has just never grabbed me. Sure, I enjoy the occasional hot mulled wine, “heavy on the cinnamon, light on the cloves”, as much as anyone, especially after swimming, but that is about it for me. I have always wanted to like the hot buttered rum, but my experiences have mostly fallen flat. There are several variations and I have never been a fan of the more pedestrian ones. I have most often been served hot water with rum and a pat of butter in it, a literal hot buttered rum. That just doesn’t do it for me, but further research revealed a real treasure. A drink that tastes like the treat crafted in my mind when I hear those words. Like most anything the key to getting the job done is having the right tools and in this case that means buttered rum batter. Let’s make that and then building the drink will be a snap.

In a mixing bowl combine 1/2 a cup (1 stick) of butter, softened; 2 cups of light brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom, 1/4 teaspoon of grated nutmeg, 1 teaspoon of minced orange zest, a pinch of ground cloves and a pinch of salt. Mix those ingredients well and once they are completely blended add our final ingredient. Here it is, the kicker, the coupe de grace, the are you kidding me with this ingredient, 1 quart of softened vanilla ice cream. See, I told you this was going to be decadent. Pop that in there and mix till incorporated. That’s it, you now have buttered rum batter. Pop it in the fridge or freezer to store till you are ready to use. Which we should do now.

Put the kettle on to heat some water, break out your favorite dark, full-bodied rum and grab that buttered rum batter out of the fridge. Might as well crank up some tunes too. How about Buster Poindexter’s inimitable “‘Zat you Santa Claus?” that should get us going, even if it isn’t hot, hot, hot. Stir the butter batter well, it likes to separate into layers, I am sure that the causes have something to do with the ridiculous fat content of that mixture, but we will have to wait for science to explain it more completely. Take 2 tablespoon of that butter batter and place it into a mug, I went with a clear one so you could see the drink, but you do you. Add 1 1/2 ounces of dark rum, I chose Myer’s because it was handy; and top with 4-6 ounces of hot water. Stir well and garnish with a cinnamon stick or some pineapple fronds or the dreams of Christmas past, just whatever you have handy.

First off, this is stupid good. I am not generally a fan of hot cocktails. They tend to go hard on the hot and soft on the cocktail part, so you end up with watered down whiskey or rum, but this one is all there. I mean it should be, that batter has a lot of flavors going on and so much fat. Seriously, don’t think about this one too deeply. I did not completely melt my butter so I ended up with a few little butter chunks in the batter. Consequently, if I let this one sit for even a moment, butter literally pools on top of the drink. I am all for the decadence of the season, but damn, y’all, it’s got butter floating on it.

My brother reminded me that it is the same as drinking bulletproof coffee. I know he meant to make me feel better about drinking this, but it only made me feel bad about drinking that bulletproof coffee every time I am in Chicago. To be fair, this drink is really nice, all of those spices and that orange zest come together in a beautifully creamy concoction that is reminiscent of those amazing Pillsbury Orange Cinnamon Rolls we grew up with, only rum infused. Yeah, this is lovely and you can make it one cup at a time, just store your batter in the freezer and break it out whenever you feel the need. Which is going to be often. Be sure to use it in the next couple of weeks though, cause those calories start counting again on January 1st. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay festive, my friends.