The weather turns chill, the days are short, Christmas is around the corner and that means it’s time for Hot Buttered Rum! Okay, I confess; for me, it means it’s time for eggnog, too, but I’ve already given you the low carb version of that in a previous blog.
I remember one Christmas, Mike and the boys and I decided to spend our holiday away from home, heading to Sun Valley, Idaho to ski. It was the one and only time we actually celebrated our Christmas someplace besides our own home in all the years the kids were growing up. Doing so entailed not only transporting all our presents, our Christmas stockings, and all the can’t-do-without, heirloom family ornaments to make the celebration somewhat traditional, but cooking Christmas dinner in someone else’s kitchen (albeit a very nice and well equipped one) in the condo we’d rented for the week. We had a wonderful time and some great skiing, but for me, at any rate, Christmas is best spent around the family hearth and we never again elected to do otherwise.
What brings that Christmas to mind, however, is thoughts of hot buttered rum.
I grew up in Arkansas, where although it does snow and can get quite cold in the winter, it’s usually in brief intermittant snaps of a few days or a week or so and there’s not much opportunity for ‘dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh’ except in song. I had grown up dreaming of going on a traditional sleigh ride at Christmas.
There’s a famous old-time restaurant in Sun Valley called the Trail Creek Cabin, where such luminaries as Ernest Hemingway, Gary Cooper, and their pals used to dine back in the day. In winter, it’s accessible only by cross-country ski or…you guessed it…horse drawn sleigh. Mike and the boys surprised me with dinner there during our stay; we fortified ourselves beforehand with hot beverages: hot cocoa for the boys and hot buttered rum for Mike and me.
The night was clear with about a jillion stars overhead and romantic as it seemed at first, even with ski parkas and ear-warmers and the thick woolen blankets the sleigh operators provided, we about froze on the 15 or 20 minute ride out there. I was mighty thankful for the internal antifreeze I’d imbibed beforehand and to this day just the words ‘hot buttered rum’ conjure up that night.
As with eggnog, the ingredients in Hot Buttered Rum are pretty user friendly for low-carbers, with the singular exception of the 1 cup of brown sugar or molasses used in traditional recipes, which is a pretty easy fix.
The big benefit of hot buttered rum over eggnog, however, is convenience. Once you’ve got the buttering spices whipped up, they’ll keep for a while in a sealed container in the refrigerator, so you can whip up a single mug or half a dozen on the spur of the moment throughout the holiday season. If, for instance, a group of carolers stops by to treat you to a little holiday music, you can treat them (and yourself) to a little almost instant holiday merriment…provided, of course, that they have a designated driver or they’re walking. And, if you must, you can make a non-alcoholic version by substituting 1 teaspoon of rum flavoring for the rum in the final preparation step.
Here’s my low carb version. Drink it in good health.
Almost No Carb Hot Buttered Rum
Makes about 16 servings
To make the buttered spice base mixture:
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp (organic if possible)
24 packets Splenda*
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 pinch salt
1. In a bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the softened butter with the Splenda (or sweetener) until light and fluffy.
2. Add the spices and beat until well combined.
3. Turn the mixture out onto a sheet of plastic wrap or waxed paper and form it into a log about the diameter of a stick of butter. Wrap tightly around the butter mixture log and refrigerate it for up to 2 weeks.
* You may use the sweetening equivalent of 1 cup of sugar as any sweetener you prefer that is heat stable.
To make each mug of the finished beverage:
1. Into a heavy mug, put 1 pat (about 2 teaspoons) of the butter spice base.
2. Add 1 1/2 ounces of good dark rum.
3. Fill mug with hot water, just off the boil.
4. Stir until melted.