A hand sprinkles a pinch of nutmeg over the whipped cream topping a mug of hot buttered rum.

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 this spiced butter mixture, 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 pour in 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.

Wholefully Protip

The recipe below makes enough batter for about four cocktails. If you’re not using it all right now, the extra batter can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

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 a 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.

Looking for more festive drinks?

We have a collection of over a dozen Christmas cocktails for you, including:


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 ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (freshly ground is best)
  • 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 about a quarter of 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.

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  1. I left my batter in the fridge and it got super hard/crusty where I can’t remove from my jar, should I heat up in the microwave or what is the best way to go about it?

    1. Hi Jake! We haven’t tried putting it in the microwave to soften it, so I’m not sure how that would work. But if you have the batter in a heatproof jar (like a glass canning jar), you can rest it in a small saucepan of simmering water to loosen it up for scooping. If it consistently hardens on you, you could also try storing it pre-portioned, so you don’t have to worry about scooping anything. If you figure out something that works well for you, please let us know!

    1. Hi Jen! Yes you can! Hopefully you found the instructions in the recipe card, but just in case—the slow cooker instructions are in the Notes section after the final step in the recipe.

    1. Hi Frank! The recipe makes approximately 4 servings, so you’ll want to triple the batch to serve 12 people! You can also use our instructions in the notes to serve it up for a crowd in a slow cooker instead of fixing everyone’s drink individually. We hope everyone loves it!

  2. I just made this and usually I make a recipe with ice cream and keep it in the freezer….This hot buttered rum recipe is better!!! Very very good!! My husband really enjoyed it and this will be my new go to for hot buttered rum drinks when we are sitting here in Oregon on a cold rainy winter night!!

  3. Hi Cassie.

    I’ve your recipe.
    Was wondering where you sourced your hot buttered rum glass mug,they look amazing!.
    Thank you

    1. Hi, JJ! You could easily get at least two weeks in the fridge with this. It’s possible that it could be good for even longer, but ours has never lasted that long!

  4. Why specify unsalted butter, and then add a pinch of salt? Just use slightly salted butter in the first place. (It’s not like you’re frying with the butter, when the salt content could lead to burning.)

    1. We like using unsalted butter because it gives you the most control! You can choose which type of salt you add and how much, which means you can adjust to suit your taste preferences. If you prefer to use salted butter in this recipe—go for it! You can swap it one for one with the unsalted butter and then either leave out the additional salt or reduce it, as needed, to get it to your liking.