Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Rum Cocktails

Hot Caramel Buttered Rum

Hot Caramel Buttered Rum / Tim Nusog

When an occasion calls for hot cocktails, you’ve got options. The Irish Coffee and Hot Toddy are two classics that continue to please drinkers with their warming sensibilities. But if you want something with an extra-rich kick to it, try the Hot Buttered Rum. Versions of this drink date back to Colonial America, and recipes began appearing in printed form in the 1800s, most notably in Jerry Thomas’s famed 1862 “Bartenders Guide.” Inclusions in mid-20th century Tiki tomes followed, cementing the cocktail’s place in history and on modern menus.

Like most classics, the Hot Buttered Rum’s pedigree does not protect it from tinkering, as bartenders and drinkers across the globe have tweaked the recipe to their liking. One such iteration is the Hot Caramel Buttered Rum, which includes caramel-flavored vodka in the mix.

The Hot Caramel Buttered Rum starts out traditional, with butter, brown sugar, honey, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and rum. The caramel-flavored vodka provides a twist, with an additional punch of sweetness and flavor. A few brands make caramel vodkas, including Pinnacle, Smirnoff, Stoli and Van Gogh. The best examples are sweet and decadent, with rich veins of burnt sugar and caramel flavors accented by undertones of vanilla, chocolate and toffee.

In this recipe, which makes two drinks, rum is still the star, outweighing the vodka three-to-one, but the flavored vodka is potent enough to stand up and make itself known, adding a rich caramel note to the drink. The end result is hot, sweet and exactly what you want on a cold day.


  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 3 ounces rum

  • 1 ounce caramel-flavored vodka

  • Hot water, to top

  • Garnish: cinnamon sticks


Serves two.

  1. Split ingredients between two Irish coffee mugs. In each mug, stir together half of the brown sugar, honey, unsalted butter, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg until they form a batter.

  2. Add half of the rum and caramel-flavored vodka to each mug, then top with hot water. Stir vigorously until the batter is fully dissolved.

  3. Garnish each drink with a cinnamon stick.

Recipe Tip

If you want to make multiple cocktails without needing to measure out the butter, sugar and spices, consider making a large batch of Hot Buttered Rum Batter to keep on hand. It features butter, sugar, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, and in a fun twist, it also calls for vanilla ice cream. Store the mixture in the freezer, and you’ll be ready to use it as needed, quickly finishing the cocktail with liquor and hot water.