Hot Buttered Rum Recipe

The Boat Galley
By Carolyn Shearlock

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My husband, Dave, teases me about being a Michigan girl and tells me I’m not supposed to get cold in the winter. I reply that it’s not that we don’t get cold, we just know how to warm up!

I first had Hot Buttered Rum after the end-of-year regatta at the Indianapolis Sailing Club, where I’d crewed on a friend’s boat. Instantly, it was my favorite winter warm-up, reserved for special times with friends.

When Dave and I were invited to try ice boating close to twenty years ago, I brought along the makings for Hot Buttered Rum. It was a huge hit, and every time the lake froze solidly and smoothly enough, we’d get a call inviting us to join in – “oh, and can you bring the Hot Buttered Rum?”

Got a late start heading south and feeling it as you come down the ICW? Hot Buttered Rum is a great end-of-day reward for miles gained.

This winter, we’re cruising Florida. While we may not get any sub-freezing days, it’s still the perfect warm-up drink after a chilly day on the water!

If you’re a weekend boater who’s still sailing in the chilly fall, this is a great make-ahead recipe. Keep a big batch in your home freezer and take a smaller container on the boat.

Hot Buttered Rum

Prep Time: 15 mins

To Serve: 5 mins

The perfect warm up after a chilly day on the water!

Course: Drinks

Cuisine: Holiday, Make-Ahead

Servings: 10

Calories: 312 kcal


Hot Buttered Rum mix:

  • ½ cup real butter (do not use margarine or butter with oil), softened
  • 1-1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 cups (1 pint) vanilla ice cream, softened (see notes if not available)

For each 12-ounce mug of Hot Buttered Rum:

  • boiling water
  • 1/3 cup Hot Buttered Rum mix, above
  • 1 to 2 ounces (2 tablespoons to ¼ cup) dark rum
  • ground nutmeg or cinnamon stick for garnish


  1. To make the mix, cream the butter, brown sugar, powdered sugar and spices until well blended. Add the soft (not-quite-liquid) ice cream and thoroughly mix it in.
  2. The mixing is easiest with an electric mixer, but can be done fairly easily by hand if you let the butter and ice cream get very soft – and be sure to read the tip of the month about a wonderful gizmo for hand mixing.
  3. The mixture can be kept up to two days in the refrigerator or on ice in a cooler. For longer storage, put it in the freezer.
  4. To serve, use standard 12-ounce mugs. Warm the mugs by filling with boiling water and letting sit for a minute, then pour the water back into the kettle and reheat to boiling while adding the mix to the mugs.
  5. Place the mix and rum in each mug and mix with a spoon. Fill with boiling water and stir to completely mix. Garnish with a dash of ground nutmeg or a cinnamon stick.

Notes, Substitutions and Variations

For children and those who don’t drink alcohol, this is also great with the rum omitted (we call it a “Hot Buttered”).

Hot Buttered Rum is a very rich drink, and pairs best with simple cookies or snacks.

*If you cannot carry ice cream on your boat, substitute an equal amount of (unwhipped) whipping cream or Media Crema. The resulting mix will be less sweet than the original mix, and some people prefer that.

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