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12 Days of Cocktails: Butter Me Up

Posted on Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014


Hot buttered rum is one of those old school cocktails that most people have heard of, but few have had. And well, that’s just sad.  Perhaps people think it’s antiquated or difficult to make, or maybe rum just doesn’t get the street credit it deserves. Here, we dress up the classic recipe with a sweet and savory browned butter syrup that is sure to make those Debbie Doubters into true believers. What is it about the smell of brown butter that is so ridiculously irresistible?  Maybe Santa will find a way to bottle the delectable scent for me and I can carry it around for whenever I’m feeling blue, or hungry or thirsty or…

1 ½ cups light brown sugar
1 ½ cups water
1 tablespoon cloves
10 sage leaves torn
2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg (around half a nut)
Peel of one orange
4 tablespoons browned butter *

*The browned butter is literally the hardest part of this recipe.  Just take 4 tablespoons of butter and slice into equal parts so that it melts into your skillet evenly.  Over medium to low heat, melt the butter, constantly stirring as it warms up.  Do not walk away from the stove, do not check Instagram, or tweet or Tinder or whatever it is you crazy kids are doing.  After it melts, it will start to foam and then lightly browned specks will begin to form at the bottom of the pan.  The butter should have a nutty aroma when it’s ready.  Remove from heat and place on a cool surface to stop the butter from cooking further.

METHOD: Combine sugar and water in a saucepan over medium to high heat.  Whisk the sugar and water together and heat until all the sugar has dissolved.  Add the rest of the ingredients and turn the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat, steep for another 10 minutes then pour into a container with a lid and place in refrigerator.  After an hour take container out of refrigerator.  The butter will have hardened on the top of your syrup.  Skim any butter off with a spoon and then pour the syrup through a tea strainer or fine meshed sieve to separate the rest of the ingredients.  Store syrup in the fridge.

GLASSWARE: coffee mug
GARNISH: orange slice with clove

1 ½ oz browned butter simple syrup
1 ½ oz rum like Kracken or Captain Morgan
5 oz hot water

Pour rum and simple syrup in a mug, then pour in hot water.  Stir, garnish and behold your new favorite warm cocktail!

DON’T WORRY: If you don’t want to spend the time poking orange slices with tiny cloves, no worries, just garnish with an orange slice and it will be just as delicious. Remember, you can prep this syrup ahead of time so it leaves more time for tasting and garnishing.

WITH A TWIST:  Swap out the rum for a nice spicy rye or apple brandy.  You can also swap out the hot water with coffee for a little extra kick.

LIKE A VIRGIN: Add this syrup to warm apple cider, coffee or black tea.

DOUBLE AGENT: You can serve this cocktail at a party, and then again the morning after as a delicious bonus. Warm up any leftover syrup and drizzle it over warm biscuits.  Trust me – you want to do this, seriously.

Cheers, and butter on dudes, butter on!

Your neighborhood bartender,
Catherine Manabat