Three days before Christmas, my friend Allison posted the following on Facebook.
Hot Buttered Rum
1 lb butter, softened
1 lb light brown sugar
1 lb powdered sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground nutmeg (probably less if it’s fresh I’d think)
1 qt vanilla ice cream, softened
Whipped cream and cinnamon stick garnish
Light rum to taste
Combine butter, sugar, and spices; beat until light and fluffy. Add ice cream, stirring until well blended. Spoon into a 2 qt freezer container; freeze.
To serve, thaw slightly. Place 3 tablespoons mixture and 1 jigger rum in large mug; fill with boiling water (or hot apple juice!) Stir well. Top with whipped cream, and serve with cinnamon stick stirrers.
She provided the accompanying photograph of an old magazine cover, which I assume is the source of the recipe, found at her mother-in-law’s house.
In all honesty, my initial reaction unease bordering on revulsion. I’m not an ascetic by a long shot. I can be plenty self indulgent and I like sweets, but certain levels of decadence and consumption make me uneasy. Something about the quantity or volume of butter and sugar described made me anxious. But, on the other hand, I’ve always wondered what hot buttered rum actually was. In theory it sounds good. And Allison says “everybody needs some of this.”
So I tried it. But I just couldn’t bear to put in a quart of vanilla ice cream. Instead I put in some vanilla extract and whipping cream. And maybe a few tablespoons of marscarpone (I don’t remember). I whipped it all up in my ancient kitchen aid, froze it and gave some to my siblings for Christmas. I haven’t tried the apple juice variation, nor do I add whip cream (I don’t usually have any around), but the cinnamon stick works well. And now I know what hot buttered rum tastes like. Pretty good, actually.
Instead of rum I have also used the ubiquitous eau de vie, and some really, really ancient coffee liqueur (how ancient. My father made it, that’s how ancient). But so far my favorite variant is putting in a slice of baked lemon (when using the traditional rum additive. Coffee and lemon is not an experiment I’m hankering to try). The baked lemon is from a very nice lemon my spouse picked off a tree next to hotel in Tucson several months ago. I sliced it thin and baked it with some confectioners sugar, on low heat. It’s sticky and bitter, but the sharpness balances the butter nicely.
Also, bubble tea boba work okay, if you don’t mind some eyes staring out of your buttered rum. And the kids like it. They ask for hot buttered rum, but they don’t get the actual rum.