Orange & Vanilla Hot Buttered Rum

Good-quality dark rum really is key here. You don’t have to pay a lot of money for good bottle; just avoid anything in a plastic jug. (I find Mount Gay is a flavorful and affordable option.)

The compound butter will keep for several weeks in an airtight container in the fridge, and the flavors will only get more intense over time. I often make a large batch a few days in advance of a party so it’s at its most fragrant.

Scale this recipe up for larger crowds.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 drinks


For the orange-vanilla butter:

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or the seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean pod)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • Pinch salt

To serve:

  • 6 ounces dark rum
  • 3 cups near-boiling hot water
  • Cinnamon sticks for garnish (optional)


1 Make the compound butter: In a stand mixer with a beater attachment or using a hand mixer, beat together the butter, brown sugar, orange zest, vanilla, spices, and salt until light and fluffy. (If making ahead, transfer the butter to an airtight container and refrigerate until needed.)


2 Make the hot buttered rums: Divide the butter between four mugs (3 to 4 tablespoons per mug). Add 1 1/2 ounces of rum per mug and then top with hot water. Stir together until the butter and sugar melt. Garnish with cinnamon sticks and enjoy while hot!

Hot Buttered Rum

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  • Lisa

    Big fan of yummy warm winter drinks here in Maine. I’l be trying this one! Thank you for the recipe.

    Fresh Eggs Daily

  • darlene

    Thank you and Merry Christmas!

  • Susie

    Wonderful, especially after a few days of letting the butter sit. But, I got an unpleasant mouthful of orange zest on my last sip (ahem, gulp…). Do you strain the zest out somehow?

  • Belle

    I’ve always loved hot buttered rum, but this really does step up the game!