Mixed Drinks Hot Buttered What Ever You Want To Put In There

it’s not surprising that National Buttered Rum day falls on January 17th; it’s just far enough away from the Holidays that the cheer is dwindling, yet still during the bitter cold of winter, where a warm drink is a much needed comfort.

However, the fans of Hot Buttered Rum are few and far between, and many think that there are simply far better warm alcoholic drinks out there to enjoy. I can honestly say that I am one who usually falls into this category; typically it is either too oily or too full of the wrong kind of Rum.

Hot Buttered Rums are a tricky beast.

You see, the number one complaint when it comes to Hot Buttered Rum drinks is, that a main component is butter; that when melted, leaves an oily residue on the surface of the drink. This is usually neither appetizing, nor appealing.

The idea basically comes down to the question:

Why would you ever want to drink melted butter anyways?

The answer to that lies in its history and its purpose in the drinking world.

The first mention of “Buttered Rum” goes back somewhere to around the 17th century in colonial America, but the idea of “butter” or fattening agents in alcohol drinks goes much farther back.

One of the oldest forms of adding a fat source to a warmed alcoholic drink goes back as far as the 14th century in a Caudle. In this case, the fat source was an egg… See, caudles are customary made of  warm ale or wine mixed with bread, eggs, sugar, and spices. By adding extra fat and calories (from the sugar), the drinker would receive extra nourishment and extra warmth.

That is the key to this type of drink. During the middle ages, many could use whatever warmth they could get; whether it be from a warm drink or putting a few extra pounds on their bones. Even now, it is recommended to add a little bit of butter to hot chocolate to keep you warm on chilly camping nights.

Eggs weren’t the only fat source that people would add to warm alcoholic drinks. It was sometime around the 16th century they started to add warm cream or curdled milk to their alcohol. A posset is a drink made of hot milk with ale, wine, or liquor and typically flavored with spices. Most often, due to the acid content of the ale or wine, the milk would become curdled in the process. Sometimes an egg or egg white was added, and sometime it was just the warm cream mixed with sugar and then the alcohol. Possets were a common and very popular drink all the way through the 18th century.

Shortly after Possets were popular came the Syllabub. The syllabub is a whipped cream dessert (once again, usually with eggs or eggs white added) typically flavored with  a warm white wine or sherry.

That brings us back to the Hot Buttered Rum, because some of the best tasting hot buttered rums come from family recipes that creates an ice cream like base and freezes it until you are ready to put it in your hot rum. After all, ice cream is made up of eggs, cream and sugar… the same ingredients in syllabubs and possets.

I personally have a problem with this technique for two reasons. The first reason, would be that when you add cold ice cream to hot rum it makes a melted ice cream mess that I can honestly say that I am NOT a fan of. The second reason I don’t recommend this is because it calls for you to heat the rum, which will start to burn off part of the alcohol.

Instead, I recommend creating an almost  pre-caramel sauce of melted butter, BROWN sugar, cinnamon and apple pie spice. Normally, you would add some warm water to this mix but I recommend adding cider and your rum of CHOICE.

In my opinion, the three keys to a good hot buttered rum are to make sure you use brown sugar instead of white sugar, warmed cider, and to make sure you use a rum you enjoy. Why should you use the cider instead of water? Because it helps to add body to the drink and mixes well (really well) with the butter. Also by adding cider instead of water you are less likely to notice any potential residual unappetizing greasy sheen on the top of the drink.

Finally and most importantly, make sure you choose a rum you enjoy. White rum, dark rum, or spiced rum it honestly doesn’t matter as long as you enjoy it. And if you are like me and really don’t enjoy the taste of rum, substitute in some bourbon.

And if you would like to share similar portions of what I enjoy when I make my hot buttered “something” drink —

  • 1 sm. slice soft butter ( no more than ½ tbsp. worth)
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • shake of cinnamon and a tsp of pumpkin or apple pie seasoning
  • 2 oz. hot cider (and a little extra to fill your mug)
  • 2 oz. rum

Warm the butter till melted and add in the brown sugar and spices. Heat on low heat till melted and mixed. Add in 2 ounces of apple cider ( or juice if you don’t have cider). Heat until warm, and by warm that means before bubbling but after where you can no longer comfortably put your finger in it. Remove from heat and pour into your favorite mug. Finally add in 2 ounces of your favorite rum or other alcohol. If you have extra space in your cup feel free to add extra warm cider. Enjoy!!

Cleveland Brewfest

This particular Sunday morning started with drinking a cup of coffee and logging the 23 different brews I tried at Cleveland’s BeerFest the night before.

To those who follow my twitter feed, it must have seemed odd to see me hammering back so many different beers so early on a Sunday… Looking back at it, at only 5 ounces per sample (a little less than half a bottle) 23 beers is quite impressive… that equals about 10 beers for the night. Though truth be told, I had no issue not finishing my brews prior to getting a new one or flat out tossing the worse in the bunch; so my total bottle of beer count is probably closer to 5 or 6…bu still impressive for a girl my size.

Case in point, about 4 years ago at Chicago’s Beer Under Glass, I learned of the horrors of 5 Rabbits, probably some of the worse beers I had tried to that point in my life. I now try to stay very clear of 5 Rabbits, though I am hopelessly in love with their name. I figure I will give them 1 more year of isolation before I go back and give them a chance, just in case their beers have improved.And to me that is the point of places like BeerFest; to try as many brews as possible, finding the winners in the bunch, and staying away from the losers.

However, I digress, let’s get back to Cleveland’s BeerFest. It was easy to spot those who were there to get sloshed, those who were there to be cool, those dragged along by their spouse, and those who were serious about beer. The later group normally had one of the maps and beer list, and some even sported a clipboard  to take notes. I like to consider myself in this group, and though I tucked my beer list into my pocket, I definitely took notes of all the beers I tried.

There were some real winners in the tastings (Ink by Rhinegeist Brewery, Albino Stout by Cleveland Brewing Company, and North County Milk Bourbon to just name a few), some that were ok, and some that could only be described as epically bad (Magic Hat Seasonal Single Chair and Rivertown Sour).I choose brews from breweries I had not tried before, and on the few occasions I revisited a brewery, I made sure to try something entirely new. I tried to properly plan, and knew which beers I didn’t want to try (mostly IPA’s, though I did end up trying a few) and which ones I couldn’t try (I’m allergic to grapefruit). I ended up just going with the flow of the beer tasting ambia I was with. Honestly I am ok with this, as it allowed me to try even more beers and styles than I would normally choose for myself.

When it comes to rankings I have a very easy to remember scale.

  • 5- Favorite Beers
  • 4.5- Would buy and drink when I wanted to have something I wanted to enjoy.
  • 4- Good Drinkable Beer. On the list of beers I would buy at the grocery store or at a pub.
  • 3- Ok. Drinkable if there is nothing else. Would not buy a six pack.
  • 2- Not good. Would prefer to not drink. Would never spend money on it.
  • 1- Nope. Not Going to Do it. I would rather drink a Bud Light.

Here are reviews of 17 of the beers I tried at Cleveland Beerfest 2016.

Score Brewery Name Style ABV Notes
 5  Rhinegeist Brewery  Ink Stout  10% A really great solid stout. Not too bitter, not too sweet. What Guinness wants to be when it grows up. Also at 10% you really don’t need more than one or two.
 4.25  Maumee Bay  5 hole Dunkle Weizen  5.3  A solid winterstyle DunkleWeizen.
 4.25 Maumee Bay Total Eclipse Breakfast Stout Double Stout  9.1 A good smooth very hearty oatmeal stout with a good combination of lactose.
 4  Arbor Blonde Blonde Ale/Herb Spiced  5.5 A little heavy on the honey, but as I like honey I enjoyed it. A nice light blonde that would be perfect for summer drinking.
 4  Arbor Phat Abbot Tripel Trippel  10 Strong (even for a Belgian Tripel), but good.
 4  North County Station 33 Firehouse Red Red  5.5 Normally reds are not my drink of choice, but I liked the North County’s Red. As I can say it’s a red I enjoy, and that’s pretty high praise.
 2  Magic Hat Single Chair Blonde  5% Tastes like Bud Light without the flavor. Honestly, just have a glass of water.
 3  Magic Hat Raspberry Stout Stout  7.5% A little heavy-handed on the raspberry. A good stout, but I doubt you could drink more than one or two before the sweet raspberry gets too much.
 1 Rivertown Divergent Berliner Weisse  3.8% Sours are hard beers to do and you have to like sours to enjoy them. I like sours, but something went wrong in Rivertown’s sour…Like really bad. Like the whole thing turned to vinegar bad. I don’t know if that is their recipe or the batch, but there is no way I would have ever served it as it was.
 2 DuClaw Double Naked Fish Imperial Chocolate Raspberry  8% Way too bitter, even for an imperial.
 2.5 DuClaw For Petes Sake Imperial Peanut butter Porter  8% Better than the Double Naked Fish, but there is an offputting burnt (not smokey – burnt) taste to it.
2.5 Mt. Carmel Amber Ale Red Ale – American Amber / Red  6% Way too hoppy for an amber ale.
 3 Mt. Carmel Imperial Pinapple IPA Imperial IPA  9% I hate IPAs and am not a huge fan of pineapple… However, I would drink this. I would even buy it for a party knowing I might have one to two leftover in my fridge.
 3.5 Mt. Carmel Coffee Brown Ale Brown Ale  6% Good non bitter coffee flavor in a decent brown ale.
 2.5 Heavy Seas Deep Six English Porter  6.8% Way too smokey; even for a porter.
 3 Heavy Seas Double cannon American Double  9.5 Not bad. Drinkable to enjoy while watching a game.
 1.5 Old Firehouse Winterale Double Stout  9 % BAD aftertaste like the batch was infected by an odd bacteria.

Drinks (and in this case drinkers) are like books and should never be judged by its cover. Towards the later part of the night (after I stopped keeping track) I had a string of mediocre beers and really wanted to break the cycle. I figured – who knew the beers better than the people pouring them? So I asked the man behind the tap for something good that is not an IPA. He looks at me and says “you look like an amber fan” and hands me an amber, which turns out to be once again not a winner. One of the others in my group received a dark beer from them that turned out to be fabulous. I ended up going back to the server to let them know I am not an “amber” girl but the darker beer was fantastic.

My favorite beer of the night could also not be judged by its look – very light, white oat ale with subtle sweet chocolate and coffee overtones. Turns out this light ale is actually a stout- an Albino Stout from Cleveland Brewing Company to be exact. Besides being a really drinkable beer, it started a debate amongst our group on what classifies a stout. This is why this beer is my pick of the fest- a well made beer that pleases the tastebuds and ignites conversation amongst friends.

Drink a Hot Toddy

Have a sinus infection- Drink a Hot Toddy.

Have a cold- Drink a Hot Toddy.

Have strep throat- Drink a Hot Toddy.

Basically, I believe Hot Toddies are the cure for everything that does not involve extreme stomach issues.

So when a friend said they had a sore throat they could not get rid of, I recommended she drink a hot toddy. I was floored when I found out she did not have the makings for my favorite remedy drink!

To me, hot toddies are as quintessential in the house as toilet paper. In fact, I have been known to run out of toilet paper before running out of whiskey, honey, and lemons. See, in essence that is all a hot toddy is – an alcoholic mixture with honey, lemon and hot tea.

So how come this simple magical mixture is so amazing? Well, it is probably because in addition to being rather tasty, it actually works to help cure most of what ails you.

Let’s start with whiskey, which is a surprisingly effective antiseptic. Whiskey comes in about 40% alcohol and though not as effective as say, rubbing alcohol when it comes to killing bacteria, it still seems to pack a punch on most of the little buggies that are trying to make you sick. So when you start to get sick or have a sore throat, make sure you have some whiskey to help clean out your throat.  In addition to the disinfectant qualities, drinking alcohol helps us relax the sore muscles from coughing and general body ache and pains. As a little icing on the alcoholic cake, a Carnegie Mellon study showed that moderate drinkers had increased resistance to viral infections.

Take your whiskey and add in the honey. Just like whiskey, honey is also incredibly antiseptic, especially if you get natural local honey (hint: skip the commercial honey and go for local natural honey- it tastes better and is much better for you). Honey will also coat and soothe a sore throat better than any cough drop you can find.

As you now have the antiseptic healing properties down, let’s take care of some of the other symptoms. This is where you want to add in either hot water or hot tea. Inhaling the steam of any hot beverage can soothe nasal passages and temporarily relieve congestion. Hot beverages will also promote mucus secretions in the nose and mouth, which is one of  our bodies’ first line of defence against bacteria and viruses.

Finally, you want to add in some Vitamin C in the form of lemon juice and zest. Scientific studies have shown that lemon can cut cold symptoms short by usually at least a day. Besides the lemon juice, I like to put the zest from the lemon in my hot toddies as well, in order to get as much lemon oil into the drink as possible. The essential oils in the lemon zest help open up the nose and unblock your ears.

Independently, all of these ingredients are great cold fighters, but when you add them together you can really put your coughs and sneezes to bed.

If you are not like me and do not always have a handy supply of whiskey, lemon juice, and honey on hand, then you can always make a hot toddy liquor to keep on hand for the cold & flu season.

For my hot toddy liquors I use — 2 lemons, 2 cups whiskey (or bourbon or your favorite alcohol of 40% or higher) and ¾ cups honey. I mix the lemon zest from the lemons in with the lemon juice and add in the ¾ cup honey and bring to boil. Once it is cool enough to touch, add in the whiskey. You will want to let it sit for about 2 weeks to extract as much of the essential oils out of the lemon zest. Strain the liquor through a coffee filter and keep in a cool dark place. I recommend adding in 1-2 tbsps of the liquor into a cup of tea before bed when sick… or when you just want some.

It is incredibly important to stay fully hydrated when you are sick, so I recommend drinking at least glass of water or orange juice for every hot toddy you drink.

Limon Mandarinochello

I always say that every brewer and cordial maker has their signature lemon liquor. Mine is a spiced lemonchello with a spiced Rum base.

Therefore, it was not surprising when last week, my mom contacted me for lemonchello advice.

What you may not know, is that my mom moved to Costa Rica after retiring from one too many years of being a High School teacher in Northern Nevada. My mom likes wine even more than I do, can go tequila shot for shot with me, and takes her martinis dry with gin.

Costa Rica has great weather, fabulous beaches, and amazing surfing (did I mention my mom married a surf instructor?). But do you know what Costa Rica does NOT have? An alcohol surplus.

As much as my mom is enjoying the local flaura, fauna, and waves, she is really missing her cabernet from the California foothills.

See, as awesome as Costa Rica is, they don’t have a surplus of  Two-Buck Chuck or cheap alcohol. What they do have instead, is a local distilled beverage called Guaro.

Guara is a Latin American distilled alcohol made from sugar cane juices. It typically ranges from 30-40% alcohol (so just shy of Rum and Vodka) and is slightly sweeter than our distilled alcohols.

I have neither Guara nor limon mandarino in order to figure out how to advise my parents how to make their liquor, but my lemonchello (whose base also comes from RUM, a distilled sugar can base) is amazing; so I figured what the heck.So basically my mom tells me that my step dad really wanted to make lemonchello from Guara and this lemon/lime fruit combo called limon mandarino that grows on their property.

Basically they are going to need to get enough of their limon mandarino thingies to get 1/2 cup juice. Before they squeeze the limon mandarino, they will want to zest them.

When zesting (and juicing), always make sure to get none of the pith (that’s the white yucky stuff between the outer area you zest and the meaty area you juice), as it will give your liquor a bitter flavor.

Bring 2 cups water to a boil and stir in 3 cups of sugar, as well as the zest. This needs to come to simmer to become a citrusy simple syrup. This needs to simmer long enough to reduce a bit and completely dissolve the sugar. Don’t boil and don’t simmer too long or it will turn into a hard candy. A low simmer for about 15 minutes should be good. Remove the zested simple syrup from heat and let cool just long enough until you can touch it without scorching yourself. Weirdly this is the hardest part- too hot and you will burn off all the alcohol (ALCOHOL ABUSE), and too cold and the simple syrup will stick to the pan. Basically, if it is still warm and you can stick your finger in without burning it, you are good to go.

Finally, add in the half cup of juice and stir thoroughly before adding the 3 cups of Guara. This then needs to sits in a cool (as cool as Costa Rica gets) dark place for about 2-4 weeks.  Don’t refrigerate the cordial (that will crystalize the sugars in the simple syrup), but keep it out of direct sunlight and away from heat while it ages. Strain through linen/Muslin/cotton fabric (or worse case scenario a coffee filter) to get rid of all of the zesty bits (or any pulp bits or seeds that get in from the juice).  Bottle in anything you have and keep out of direct sunlight while you enjoy it.

Hypothetically speaking, this liquor can be used just like a lemon or limechello: meaning it can be drunk straight, added to anything sparkly, spice up a little ice tea, or added to a tasty pound cake, since my mom is also a fabulous baker. :-)