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Improved Hot Buttered Rum With DIY Butter Syrup!

Hot buttered rum besides a bottle of homemade cacao butter syrup

Hello, Friends of Cocktails. Are you a fan of rich, buttery and decadent cocktails? If you’re looking for a way to get cozy and delicious cocktails this festive season, you don’t need to look further than DIY Butter Syrup! It will make your winter feel like you’re in one of those magical winter Harry Potter scenes, especially with the Better Hot Buttered Rum we’ll make today. But we’ll cover the basics first, so we’ll try the classic one with regular butter and an elevated version with our DIY Cacao Butter Syrup. 

If you’re looking for something other than your classic nogs, toddies and mulled wines for this winter, you’re in the right place, so let’s get into it. The Hot Buttered Rum recipe is a template that you can twist and adjust to your own liking. From the style of rum, the spices, and even the sweetener - you could use any of the syrups in your fridge - with the obvious choice being demerara syrup, and Liber&Co’s Demerara Gum Syrup will add mild aromas of toffee and caramel to your cocktails!

If you want to add more flavor, try one of their flavored syrups, like Cola, Orgeat, Toasted Coconut, or Caramelized Fig Syrups, but I’m starting with the classic, so I’ll be using demerara sugar, alongside other ingredients. It’s Cocktail Time!

Cacao butter with vanilla bean being melted to make butter syrup for cocktails

Hot Buttered Rum

● 120mL · 4oz Hot Water

● 60mL · 2oz Dark Rum

● 30g · 2tbs Unsalted Butter

● 12.5g · 1tbs Sugar

● 3 drops Vanilla Extract

● ¼ tsp Ground Cinnamon

● 1 Cinnamon Stick

● Nutmeg

● Pinch of ground Allspice

● Pinch of Salt

To make it I’ll first warm up a glass with hot water, discard the water, then start adding the ingredients, starting the butter and leaving the hot water for last. Now give everything a good stir to melt the butter and combine all the ingredients, or you could do this with a cinnamon stick as well, since we’ll add that as garnish. With how rich this cocktail looks, it’s no wonder why it’s so popular, but before we make our own version let’s give it a try, cheers!


You’ll get an inviting aroma of sweetened melted butter with a hint of warm spices. It has a velvety texture, where the richness of butter and brown sugar is nicely balanced by the full-bodied rum. Spices are quite strong here, but the Hot Buttered Rum is really a cozy delight. I wouldn’t blame you if you’d like to make some Hot Buttered Rum throughout the winter, but one way to make that easier is to create your own butter syrup, which is what we’ll do next. 

You’ll need cocoa butter, and I’ll go with the leftover one from making White Creme de Cacao, but Rob from Rob’s Home Bar has an interesting technique for making it, which I’ll share in the Recommended Watch section of the Cocktail Time’s newsletter that will be sent this Saturday. You can sign up here and receive 2 homemade bitters recipes in your inbox as well. Also, if you don’t have cacao butter, just up the amount of regular butter and add a small amount of vanilla.

Cacao Butter Syrup

● 200g Hot Water

● 2.7 g Gum Arabic

● 0.3g Xanthan Gum

● 110g Unsalted Butter

● 40g Spent Cacao Butter

● 150g Sugar

First we’ll dissolve our emulsifiers, so boil the water and weigh out 200 grams. Pour in a container that’s suitable for a stick blender then add in the gum arabic and xanthan gum, and then blend until everything is fully dissolved and you have a homogeneous mixture. We’ll then melt all the butter in a pan, which we’ll filter to catch any pieces of vanilla that might still be there from our cacao liqueur. Then, while it’s still warm and melted, pour it into our water while running the stick blender.

The emulsifiers will act as the bonding components between the water and oil, meaning all we need to do to create our buttery syrup is to add the sugar, but as we really want the buttered notes to be the star of the show in our cocktail we’re not making a 1:1 syrup. By adding less sugar in the syrup, we will have to add more of it into the cocktail which will in turn mean more of the buttery goodness - but if you plan to add the syrup to other cocktails I’d suggest adding an additional 50 grams. 

Once the sugar has dissolved we’re done, and our Butter Syrup is ready to be bottled and labeled. It’s creamy, rich, and with just the right amount of cacao notes. You can also use it to make deliciously rich versions of cocktails like the Brandy Alexander, any Eggnog variation or even the Grasshopper, which our director Robi will post to our Patreon page! But now, it’s time to finally make the Better Hot Buttered Rum.

Better Hot Buttered Rum

● 60mL · 2oz Cacao Butter Syrup

● 60mL · 2oz Appleton Estate 12

● 1 barspoon Palo Cortado Sherry

● 6 drops saline

● 90mL · 3oz Hot Water

● Tonka Bean

Again start by heating up the glass - afterall, you don’t want the hot water we’re adding to the cocktail next to heat up the glass instead of the cocktail and you! Then pour out the hot water and add our homemade Cacao Butter Syrup, and that’s got to be a record for the amount of syrup used in a single serve on Cocktail Time. Follow that with the same amount of Appleton Estate 12, a Jamaican rum that's a blend of rare hand-selected pot and column still rums aged for a minimum of 12 years. 

To that I’ll add a barspoon of Christina sherry from Gonzales Byass. This is a medium dry style of Sherry with a blend of Palomino and a small amount of Pedro Xiemenez grapes. And, as is tradition here, 6 drops of saline solution that will enhance all of the flavors, just like salt would in cooking. And to make it a Hot Buttered Rum, add hot water and mix well to combine all the ingredients. For garnish I’ll grate a little tonka bean on the top, which has a nice vanilla note to it, but nutmeg works as well. 

Now let’s see if it was all worth it, cheers! A nicely spiced aroma leads to a creamy and pleasantly boozy cocktail. Cocoa and butter make for a perfect pairing, vanilla is a nice touch, and the choice of rum was on point, if I can say so myself. An excellent hot cocktail that offers a soul-warming blend of flavors with every sip. With that though, we’ve made it to the Bottom of The Glass, and today we’ll talk about the tonka bean.

So, Tonka beans, a product of the South American cumaru tree, contain a naturally occurring chemical known as coumarin, which is also responsible for the seed's pleasant odor. But since coumarin can cause health problems such as liver damage, the American FDA enforced a ban on tonka beans in 1954. However, according to, a fully grown adult would need to consume about 2400 plates of tonka bean flavored desserts to reach the tolerable daily intake of Coumarin. 

With that said, as always, use only the ingredients you’re comfortable with. Interestingly, Coumarin is also found in cassia cinnamon and cherry blossom tree leaves, which is just a nice segway into this Blooming Martini, inspired by the season of blooming cherry trees. But it’s far from spring so I’ll see you next week with another hot cocktail. Cheers, Friends of Cocktails! 

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