Ring the bell, it's time for Last Call, where JK Grence, bartender at Shady's, serves up booze advice and recipes. Got a burning question for your bartender? Leave it in the comments and it might be answered in a future column.
This time of year is a good reminder that we live in the desert. The days are still idyllic, but it gets quite nippy the moment the sun goes down. At least, that's how long-time residents feel. You can always tell the people on vacation this time of year, going around in shorts and snickering at the people bundled up with scarves and heavy coats when it's still 65 degrees out. This week's drink is for us folks in the former set.
Once the weather gets cold, one of my favorite drinks to have ready is hot buttered rum. It's pretty quick to make them to order. But, if you're going to make more than one, it's a snap to mix everything together in advance. All you need is butter (Real butter here; attempt this with margarine and we won't be on speaking terms), brown sugar, vanilla, a few pinches of warm spice, and a big pinch of salt. Mix it all together in an electric mixer (or in a bowl with a big wooden spoon if you're a Luddite), and stick the resulting batter in the refrigerator. It keeps for at least a few weeks; I've lost a batch in the back of the fridge and found it was still as good as new even after spring had sprung. Your mileage may vary.
If you have some guests drop by at a moment's notice, you're all set. Put a generous spoonful of the batter in a warmed mug, and add a tot of rum. Stir those together (the batter melts easier if it's mixed with the rum first) and top it off with boiling water. You can use pretty much any rum you like. Light, dark, spiced, it's all good here; I usually go for light rum just because I have tons around the house. Don't feel like you're limited to rum; it's great with most any dark spirit. I'm a fan of bourbon and cognac, but I've heard that it's quite nice as Hot Buttered Scotch.
If you want to add some dramatic flair at a gathering, keep a fireplace poker in the fire. Prepare a mug of hot buttered rum, and stick the red-hot poker in the mug until the drink is steaming hot. Naturally, it's a much better idea to do this at the start of the party than after you've had a couple.
Hot Buttered Rum Batter
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened 8 ounces (1 packed cup plus a couple tablespoons) dark brown sugar ½ teaspoon vanilla extract ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg ½ teaspoon ground allspice ¼ teaspoon ground cloves Pinch kosher salt
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Mix everything with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Transfer to a sealable container, and store in refrigerator.
Hot Buttered Rum 1 heaping teaspoon hot buttered rum batter 1 ½ ounces rum 6 ounces hot water
Mix everything in a mug. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.