Hot buttered rum? But why? Like egg nog, this is a wintry cocktail that has, despite its venerable history, slowly faded into ignominy. And that, frankly, is a disappointment.
Hot buttered rum has three things going for it that should make it a smash during the month of February:
- It’s hot. We love hot things. Hot chocolate. Hot fires. The cast of Game of Thrones. Heeeeeeey, Jon Snow.
- There’s butter. There’s basically nothing that butter can’t improve. Pretty sure Paula Deen based her entire career around this theory.
- Rum. Because it’s rum. You’re reading Top Shelf, so it’s safe to say I don’t even have to explain this one.
American colonists are largely responsible for the drink’s creation and initial popularity. After the capture of Jamaica by the British royal Navy in 1655, rum began finding its way onto ships, sailor’s rations, and later, colonial distilleries. Traditional toddies–hot drinks made with boiling water, liquor, sugar, and sometimes spices–saw rum replace their brandy or sherry. Butter was added to enrich the drink, and voila, a brand new, pre-American cocktail was born, the perfect nightcap for a cold New England night.