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Cheers! Hot Buttered Rum... with a twist

Lester Graham
Michigan Radio
Butternut squash is the surprise ingredient in this drink.

“One of the most popular drinks that I teach in my classes is hot buttered rum,” said Tammy Coxen with Tammy’s Tastings as she was putting the kettle on to boil.

However, we are not making hot buttered rum.

“I am a sucker for clever wordplay, so when I came across a recipe for hot butternut rum, I had to make it,” Tammy said.

Like a hot toddy, it starts with a base of a hot liquid.

(See a hot toddy from Cheers! here.)

“Sometimes that is hot water, but in this case it’s an Earl Grey tea,” Tammy said, adding that it brings another dimension of flavor to the drink.

Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio
Michigan Radio
The Hot Butternut Rum starts with Earl Grey tea and a spiced butternut squash butter.

The other ingredients, a spiced squash butter, the rum (we used New Holland’s Freshwater Barrel Rum), and Velvet Falernum all bring a lot of spice notes and flavors to this hot toddy.

Back to the namesake for this drink: hot buttered rum. No one seems to know when someone added butter to a hot toddy or why they thought that would be a good idea. However, in Tammy’s research, she found in the 1939 Gun Club Drink Book by Charles Browne, the author explains the butter is only there to lubricate your mustache.

We think the mustache is optional.

Hot Butternut Rum

2 tbsp Spiced Squash Butter (see recipe below)
3 oz hot Earl Grey tea
1 1/2 oz aged rum
1/4 ounce Velvet Falernum

Combine squash butter and tea in mug, stir to combine. Add remaining
ingredients. For a crowd, measure cups instead of ounces and use 1 cup
spiced squash butter. Heat on stove and transfer to press pot or crock
pot to keep warm.

Spiced Squash Puree

4 oz squash or pumpkin puree
4 oz unsalted butter, softened
4 oz dark brown sugar
3/4 tsp each ground cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Combine in food processor until well blended. Store refrigerated.

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Public from 1998-2010.
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