Spiced Hot Buttered Rum

Sip the season with a cozy mug of Spiced Hot Buttered Rum. Layers of warm spices and buttery textures mixed with dark rum make for a comforting holiday drink.

a gold spoon with a glass mug of hot buttered rum

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Though it’s a classic holiday drink, hot buttered rum was always something I was so skeptical of.

The idea is simple enough: a mug of hot rum served with a pat of butter.

I am all about some movie theatre buttered popcorn. But… butter? To drink?

Butter sure sounds like an odd ingredient for a cocktail, I know. It’s in the realm of egg whites for whiskey sours. When you see it on the ingredient list for the first time, it’s normal to ask, “Really?!”

But trust me on this: Once you try hot buttered rum you’ll never go back.

The butter provides a silky quality to this warm drink, and my version of spiced hot buttered rum brings in the warmth of winter spices to make a cozy holiday sipper.

What is hot buttered rum?

Hot buttered rum’s history dates back to colonial times when rum imports from the Caribbean were many.

Rum became a base in many a cocktail, from the hot toddy to hot buttered rum to eggnog.

Traditionally, hot buttered rum is made with warm rum and plain butter, but nowadays it’s common to see spices mixed into the butter and experimentation with the type of rum used. Some recipes even have ice cream or vanilla extract added, but they’re not necessary.

closeup of a cinnamon stick on a glass of hot buttered rum

Spiced hot buttered rum recipe

This winter warmer is going to be your new favorite, and this hot drink is a lovely way to greet guests with something warm when they arrive.

To make a spiced hot buttered rum cocktail, you’ll create spiced butter with unsalted butter, dark brown sugar and spices.

You can make this ahead of time and keep balls of spiced butter at the ready whenever someone drops by.

Then when you’re ready to make these warm drinks, just turn on the kettle and go!


This is one of the easiest recipes you can make for big-batch holiday drinks. It calls for just a few ingredients you might even already have on hand!


This recipe calls for gold rum, but you can use any rum that you have on hand.

White rum will yield a lighter color, and blackstrap rum will be darker. You can even use spiced rum for a more spiced flavor. Check out my Rum 101 guide for my favorite rum brands.

This recipe calls for 1 1/2 ounces of rum, which is 12 ounces of rum total. This is about half of a 750mL bottle of rum.

To make it non-alcoholic: You can use a zero-proof spirit such as Ritual’s rum alternative.

butter, sugar and spices in a glass bowl to make spiced butter

Unsalted Butter

You’re going to want to use quality butter for your hot buttered rum. I usually keep Kerrygold Irish butter on hand, but trust me: Quality butter will change your life.

You can use salted butter, but it will give your drink a salty flavor. I recommend unsalted if at all possible.

To make this recipe vegan: You can substitute coconut oil for the unsalted butter.


You will need a bevy of spices for this festive drink recipe. Whenever I can, I use high-quality spices that are single-origin and ethically sourced.

Spices do go bad and lose flavor over time, so it’s a good idea to replenish your stock from time to time.

Here are the spices you’ll need for this cozy drink recipe:

  • ground cinnamon
  • ground ginger
  • ground cloves
  • ground nutmeg

For my garnish, I used one of these cinnamon sticks from iGourmet. You could also add a pretty rim of cinnamon sugar!

How to make spiced hot buttered rum

First you will make spiced butter that we will add to these cozy drinks. This is the “buttered” component, so it’s very important! (Some people call this hot buttered rum batter.)

You will need soft, room temperature butter. My favorite way is to set the butter out on the counter a few hours before you plan to use it until it is softened. Sometimes I even put it out the night before.

In an emergency, you can soften it in the microwave, but be careful not to melt it. Do 10-second intervals at 50% power. I much prefer this roll-out method for softening butter.

Then you’ll mix the butter with dark brown sugar and spices until it’s evenly distributed. You can do this with an electric mixer or by hand.

The result is a mixture very similar to what goes inside a cinnamon roll:

spiced butter to make into balls

Once combined, roll the butter into balls (or mold it into a log that you can cut later) and put them on a wax paper-lined baking sheet and refrigerate. Once they have hardened, you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month.

When you’re ready to make the drinks, boil some water in your kettle. I use a stovetop one, but I envy anyone with one of these pretty electric kettles!

hot water pouring into a glass of rum with a ball of spiced butter

Place a ball of spiced butter in a mug, then top with rum and hot water.

Stir until the butter has dissolved. Some will float to the top of the rum in a foamy layer — this is normal! Ideally, most of it will mix with the rum.

a hand stirring a ball of spiced butter into warm rum

Garnish with a cinnamon stick. You can top it with whipped cream if you like, but only take a sip when it reaches the perfect temperature for you.

More warm holiday drinks

If you love a winter warmer during the holiday season (or any chilly evening), try one of these easy recipes for drinks that are served warm:

Russian tea is my family staple at the holidays. You can spike it with rum or vodka, or leave it non-alcoholic.

Made with peppermint vodka, everyone will love a mug of spiked peppermint hot chocolate.

A hot toddy makes for a delicious nightcap, especially on those super cold winter nights!

Homemade hot apple cider always goes a long way, too! Spike it with applejack, rum or bourbon.

This warm butterbeer hot buttered rum has a cozy Harry Potter twist.

spiced hot buttered rum in an Irish coffee mug

More Christmas cocktails

— Did you make this recipe? —

Please leave a ★★★★★ review or comment below.

spiced hot buttered rum in an Irish coffee mug

Spiced Hot Buttered Rum

Yield: 1 cocktail
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Spiced Hot Buttered Rum is a cozy winter warmer for chilly nights and the holiday season.
5 from 2 votes
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For the spiced butter

  • 1.5 cups dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup butter softened
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoons ground cloves

For the cocktail

  • 8 ounces water
  • 2 tablespoons spiced butter
  • 1 ½ ounce gold rum


  • In a medium mixing bowl, stir together butter, sugar and spices until combined.
  • Measure 2 tablespoons of butter and roll into a ball. Repeat to make 8 balls. Place on a wax paper-lined baking sheet or plate and chill in the fridge for 1 hour. Transfer to an airtight, food-safe storage container until ready to use.
  • To make 1 cocktail, boil water. Meanwhile, place 1 ball of spiced butter in a mug and top with spiced rum. Add the hot water. Stir until butter melts into the hot rum mixture. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

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nutrition information

Yield: 1 cocktail

amount per serving:

Serving: 10ounces Calories: 299kcal Carbohydrates: 0.02g Protein: 0.2g Fat: 23g Saturated Fat: 14g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Monounsaturated Fat: 6g Trans Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 60mg Sodium: 192mg Potassium: 8mg Sugar: 0.02g Vitamin A: 700IU Calcium: 14mg Iron: 0.03mg
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