Hot buttered rum is one of those classic Christmas drinks that people either know and love, or have literally no clue that it even exists. And to be honest with you, I definitely fell into the latter category...until now! I set out to learn more about this special holiday drink in the hopes of understanding why hot buttered rum lovers seem so far and few between. If you've been asking yourself "what is hot buttered rum" all these years, I've got you covered. 

What Is Hot Buttered Rum?

Hot buttered rum is NOT a simple, easy-to-whip-up drink—this is one seriously complicated beverage. To make this holiday staple, you'll need rum, butter, hot water or cider, a sweetener, and various spices (usually cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves). And, to make matters more complicated, it's not the kind of thing where you can pour it all together and be done with it. According to most hot buttered rum recipes, you'll need to beat the ingredients together using an electric mixer. Though it sounds like it will be worth it, there's no disputing that making this beverage is not quite a cup of tea.  

Origins of Hot Buttered Rum

This holiday beverage actually goes way back, even predating the republic. This drink has its origins in Europe where hot, spiced alcoholic beverages have been used for ages to warm people during the bitter cold seasons. Rum, on its own, became very popular amongst American colonists as they could distill it on their very own from molasses that they found in the New World.

From there, rum made its way into a variety of drinks, most of which featured other ingredients like sugar and honey, or boiling water and spices. The most unique part? Hot buttered rum has all of these things, but even goes as far as to add a pat of butter— interesting, right?

#SpoonTip: Hot buttered rum is sometimes called a hot toddy

What Hot Buttered Rum Tastes Like

It sounds like the buttered part of hot buttered rum is what really spurs so many mixed reviews about this holiday drink. People either find the butter-alcohol combination extremely deterring or extremely delicious, even a form of comfort food. Some go as far as to say that one of the most important steps in making hot buttered rum is, actually, choosing the proper butter. While salted butter may be delicious on toast and bagels, for this drink it's important to buy high quality, unsalted butter.

Despite all of the more unique aspects of hot buttered rum, one thing that definitely makes this drink appealing is how open to adaptation the recipe is. Depending on what you like—creamier, saltier, sweeter, cider or water—there's a way to make hot buttered rum to your liking. Some more contemporary recipes even include some more modern ingredients like vanilla ice cream in the batter.

It seems to me like this holiday drink is definitely among the more unique alcoholic beverage options, but worth a try nonetheless. If you're having a more adventurous crowd over to celebrate the season, try making some hot buttered rum and see if you can get any of your guests hooked. Also, be sure to save enough time to get all of the ingredients together and whip them into a batter before your guests get too thirsty, With that in mind and lots of determination, you're sure to have a positive hot buttered rum experience.