The Hot Buttered Rum is a classic albeit controversial cocktail. On the one hand, its rich and warming qualities are enjoyed by hordes of drinkers each winter season. But on the other, the inclusion of butter, if not properly incorporated, can quickly disrupt the flavor and texture.
David Embury fell squarely in the negative camp, and he even dedicated a scathing section to the drink in his 1948 book “The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks.” He wrote: “The lump of butter is the final insult. It blends with the hot rum just about as satisfactorily as warm olive oil blends with Champagne!"
The best Hot Buttered Rums, however, are comforting revelations. And there’s more than one way to interpret the drink. Bartender Beau du Bois created The Lookout, his version of the cocktail, while working at The Corner Door in Culver City, California. He maintains the core tenets of the classic—rum, butter and heat—but he specifically uses 12-year-old rum. And in a fun turn of events, he adds Pedro Ximenez sherry and mulled cider to the mix.
The PX sherry isn’t simply dumped into the glass. Instead, it’s infused with softened butter. And while the original Hot Buttered Rum recipe calls for plain old boiling water, du Bois brings more flavor to the equation with mulled cider. You can use a high-quality store-bought cider, or try making your own by merging apple cider with mulling spices, like cinnamon, cloves, star anise and ginger.
It’s a shame that Embury never got to try this recipe. It might have changed his mind about the drink entirely.
2 ounces 12-year-old rum
1 tablespoon PX sherry-infused butter*
4 ounces hot mulled cider (use your favorite recipe or packaged mix)
1 pinch Chinese five-spice powder
Add the rum and sherry-infused butter to a mug, then slowly top with the hot mulled cider.
Sprinkle the five-spice powder on top.
*PX sherry-infused butter: Stir together one stick (4 ounces) of butter, softened to room temperature, and 1 ounce Pedro Ximenez sherry.