You know what was really fabulous about this Christmas?
We spent the holiday at Lake Tahoe. Good-bye, soggy Seattle! Hello, piles of snow and blue skies! The sunshine alone might have been enough to induce euphoria. But there were also the joys of good company, good food, and time enough to really rest.
We went on outings in the sparkling sunshine and thin air to marvel at the lake, and sipped hot drinks while watching skiers whiz by the lodge. We crunched over frozen snow in the still, starry night to attend midnight mass. There was a giant puzzle laid out on the coffee table, which eventually drew everyone in.
And Christmas movies. It’s just not Christmas without watching A Christmas Carol with Patrick Stewart. There was plenty of snuggling on the couch in front of the fire with a book. I fell asleep at night under a fluffy heap of warm comforter, with fresh cold air flowing in the open window. I made it a personal goal to eat as much chocolate and cheese as I possibly could, and I succeeded admirably, if I do say so.
We went out for Christmas dinner, and during the pleasant pre-dinner cocktail interlude, I had a Hot Buttered Rum. It seems to me that hot alcoholic drinks are too often overlooked, languishing in the shadows while the icy martini-glassed cocktails get all the love. Irish Coffee, a hot Whisky Mac, even just a cup of hot cocoa with a slug of spiced rum—whatever your fancy, a hot drink on a cold day is one of life’s simple pleasures to be savored.
To my way of thinking, the Hot Buttered Rum is the pinnacle of hot drinks. I still remember the first time I had one, and how surprised I was that it tasted exactly like a Butter Rum Lifesaver. I am still delighted by that comparison, every single time. It is sweet and rich and decadent. You can wrap chilly hands around the hot mug and the drink will warm you inside and out, with a kick of rum and spices to put a little color in your cheeks.
You could probably buy hot buttered rum batter, but it is so easy to make, either in big batches that will keep in the freezer indefinitely or just a mug or two at a time, and the ingredients are of the common sort that almost everyone has on hand without a special trip to the store.
Just lay in an emergency bottle of rum, and you will be prepared for whatever weather this winter throws your way.
Hot Buttered Rum For One
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- Dash each of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves
- 6 oz boiling water
- 2 oz dark rum
Combine butter, sugar, and spices in a tall hot beverage mug. Add boiling water, and stir until dissolved. Add rum.
Hot Buttered Rum For a Crowd
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 4 oz butter, room temp
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp nutmeg or mace
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients thoroughly. Refrigerate in a sealed air-tight container for up to two months. This mixture can also be frozen for up to one year before using. Makes eight servings.
- 2 Tbsp refrigerated hot buttered rum batter
- 6 oz boiling water
- 1 1/2 oz dark rum
- 1 Tbsp light cream (optional)
In a hot beverage mug, combine hot buttered rum batter with boiling water, stirring well until dissolved. Add in rum and cream, if using.