Hot Buttered Rum

A hand sprinkles a pinch of nutmeg over the whipped cream topping a mug of hot buttered rum.
Recipe At-A-Glance
Gluten-Free10 minutes
You can almost hear the sounds of sleigh bells when you sip on a mug of Hot Buttered Rum! This old-fashioned cocktail is creamy, sweet, buttery, and warms you from the inside out.

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It doesn’t quite feel like Christmas until I’ve curled up in front of the fireplace with Bing Crosby on the record player and a cozy mug of Hot Buttered Rum in my hand.

Hot Buttered Rum dates back to the colonial days in the United States, and the recipe (and flavor!) hasn’t changed much in the past few centuries—it’s sweet, creamy, buttery, and packed with holiday spice. Let us show you how to make this delicious Christmas cocktail!

Close-up of a full mug of hot buttered rum with whipped cream, nutmeg, and cinnamon stick garnish.

What does hot buttered rum taste like?

To the uninitiated, buttered rum may not sound like a super appealing drink—butter mixed with alcohol? Sounds like a pass. But trust me. Hot buttered rum is sweetly spiced, and full of buttery vanilla flavor. It’s kinda like a really good Christmas cookie in a mug!

What’s in it?

The magic of this drink comes from the hot buttered rum batter. A batter for a cocktail? Yup! To make it, you’ll need to warm and mix together:

  • Brown sugar and honey for sweetness.
  • Unsalted butter for (you guessed it!) butteriness.
  • Cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves for some spiciness that warms you from the inside out.
  • A pinch of salt to bring out the flavor.
  • Vanilla extract for flavor.

A hand scoops a spoonful of hot buttered rum batter out of a pint jar.

When you’re ready to serve, you’ll just stir the batter with some hot water. Then add the rum, and top with whipped cream and nutmeg. Easy as that!

And lest you are thinking of skipping the whipped cream—don’t! As it melts into the drink, it makes the whole thing dreamy creamy.

A hand cups the bottom of a glass mug of hot buttered rum.

What kind of rum should I use?

You can use spiced rum or dark rum here. Spiced rum is typically dark rum that has been flavored with caramel and other spices. We prefer dark rum so we can control the spices, but a good quality spiced rum will also do the trick!

How do I warm the rum?

You actually don’t need to warm the rum separately in our hot buttered rum recipe. Since we are using boiling water to whisk with the batter, it will do the work of heating the batter and the rum through. So go ahead and use room temperature rum!

A hand pours a measure of rum from a jigger into a glass mug.

How strong is hot buttered rum?

Each drink has 2 ounces of rum, which is just over a standard shot. Be careful, though—hot buttered rum goes down smooth, and is tasty enough to catch up to you quickly! Feel free to add more or less rum to taste.

Can I make it non-alcoholic?

You sure can! Just drop the rum, and keep everything else. You’ll still have a delicious and festive drink.

A glass mug filled with hot buttered rum, topped with whipped cream, and garnished with nutmeg and a cinnamon stick.

How can I make hot buttered rum for a crowd?

The slow cooker is your friend when you want to make hot buttered rum for a group. Here’s all you need to do:

  1. Put all the batter ingredients in the slow cooker on high for an hour. No need to make the batter separately in advance!
  2. Add some water and rum, and set the slow cooker to warm.
  3. Keep the whipped cream and some nutmeg off to the side, and add them right as you serve each individual glass.
A hand sprinkles a pinch of nutmeg over the whipped cream topping a mug of hot buttered rum.

Hot Buttered Rum Recipe

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

You can almost hear the sleigh bells when you sip on Hot Buttered Rum! This old-fashioned cocktail is creamy, sweet, and warms you from the inside out.


For the Batter:

  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For Each Cocktail

  • 2/3 cup hot water
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) batter, plus more to taste
  • 2 ounces dark rum
  • Sweetened whipped cream and ground nutmeg, for garnish


  1. To make the batter: In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the brown sugar, butter, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Heat, stirring frequently, until the butter is completely melted and the sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
  2. To make each cocktail, combine the hot water with the batter in a mug, and then stir vigorously to combine.
  3. Add in the rum and stir to combine. Taste, and add additional batter if you like it a bit sweeter or spicier.
  4. Top with a large dollop of whipped cream and fresh grated nutmeg.


  • Don’t be tempted to skip the whipped cream! As it melts into the drink, it makes it dreamy creamy.
  • The batter can stash in the fridge until you are ready to make your next cocktail. 
  • To make this in a slow cooker for a crowd, add all batter ingredients to the slow cooker and set to high for an hour, or until the mixture is melted and combined. Add in 2 1/2 cups of hot water and 1 cup of rum and stir vigorously to combine. Set on warm. Serve anytime topped with whipped cream and nutmeg.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 239Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 56mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 1gSugar: 47gProtein: 0g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

Cassie is the founder and CEO of Wholefully. She's a home cook and wellness junkie with a love of all things healthy living. She lives on a small hobby farm in Southern Indiana with her husband, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and 15 chickens.
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