Bottoms up

photo  courtesy of Eva Fourakis The batter for the hot buttered rum turned out somewhat lumpy and was extremely unappetizing. Photo Courtesy Eva Fourakis
The batter for the hot buttered rum turned out somewhat lumpy and was extremely unappetizing. Photo Courtesy Eva Fourakis

In an attempt to thaw ourselves out of the frozen tundra that is currently New England, two brave souls ventured on a treacherous, taxing and all-consuming quest to unearth the secrets of warmth. Unsatisfied with gloves, scarves and down jackets, we settled on friendship. And what is more rewarding than friendship? Friendship and a good warm drink on a cold winter night. We set out to make a delectable drink fit for the kings and queens of Narnia and warm enough to melt a snowman: hot buttered rum.

The batter was to be prepared in advance. We left plenty of time to make the batter, but in the end, it was quite simple; even a cave man could do it. The recipe called for a pound of butter, but seeing as there were only two of us, we decided half a pound would be enough, so we halved the entire recipe. For future reference, half a pound of butter is still a lot!

We mixed the butter at room temperature with one cup of brown sugar, one cup of regular sugar, three quarters of a tablespoon of ground cinnamon, half a teaspoon of ground cloves and three quarters of a tablespoon of nutmeg. After thoroughly stirring these ingredients together, we added half a quart of vanilla ice cream and stirred again. Note to future drinkers of said buttered rum: mix more thoroughly than you think is necessary because the batter will come out very lumpy otherwise. Tasting the batter, we were pleasantly surprised at its sweetness, spice-filled goodness and delicious after taste. We then covered the bowl and put it in the freezer overnight.

Fast-forward 24 hours. We retrieved the batter to find it shockingly lumpy. We were not deterred, however, though we were  surprised to finish reading the recipe and discover that we only needed one tablespoon of the batter per 1.5 ounces of rum. After mixing three ounces of rum with two tablespoons of batter and filling our mugs to the brim with boiling water, we took our first sip. Our first reaction: It was hot. Our gut reaction: This is not what we expected. Call us naïve, but when we read the words buttered rum, we were transported to the Three Broomsticks, chilling with Harry, Ron and Hermione while sipping butterbeer and planning the demise of the Dark Lord. This was not our experience at all. Not only did we not have a hand in defeating Lord Voldemort, we also found that the extreme sweetness of the batter did little to cover up the potency of the rum. To one of our drinks we added another scoop of batter, which diminished the taste of the rum but made the drink nauseatingly sweet.

We concluded that hot buttered rum was disgusting and not worth finishing. So we did the next logical thing and resorted to the classic, old school favorite: hot chocolate and peppermint schnapps. We’re not going to describe how we made this drink because if you can’t figure out how to make hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps in it then we can’t help you. However, we can say that it was delicious, and there’s a reason that this drink is a perennial winter favorite.

As we were cleaning up, we noticed our still mostly full mugs of hot buttered rum – at this point lukewarm buttered rum – and decided to give it one last chance. Though the drink had begun to separate and looked pretty gross, we found that it was actually quite improved. As long as we didn’t stare down into our mugs as we consumed our beverages, we found the experience very pleasant.

So if you’re looking for a hot drink to warm you up in the depths of winter, stick to the classics. But, if you’re looking for a drink that needs to separate and cool to room temperature before being even remotely drinkable, and then want some clogged arteries to go with it, then go for the “hot” buttered rum!