Tis the season for warm drinks. Tis the season for spices and mulling. Tis the season for presents and shopping and family and parties and maybe just a little bit of stress and drama.
So tis the season for booze. Duh.
It might just be my family, but ever since the kids reached adulthood, boozy traditions have flourished into some of my favorite parts of the holiday. Nothing like light inebriation to smooth over any little interpersonal bumps. There’s nothing like a hot mug of mulled wine or peppermint schnapps hot chocolate while you bunker down with “It’s a Wonderful Life.” My oldest sister makes sure we’re all ready to go with Blueberry Teas or Irish Coffee before we break into the gift exchange.
C’s family has perfected this into a beer tasting – we each bring a few microbrews we’ve never had before, line them up light to dark and full on taste those suckers. We write tasting notes and everything. The microbrews get a bit crazy. I’ve had a bacon maple bar beer. It was weird.
Somehow the combination of booze, family, and evergreen has become integral to holiday festivities. When I found some online mixology recipes for holiday cocktails, I was more that excited to try some variation on hot buttered rum. If you’ve never tried it, hot buttered rum is pretty much what it sounds like – sugared butter melted into rum and hot water, traditionally served with a whole cinnamon stick. A pumpkin-y twist on the classic adds just the right touch of fun to the old standard: Pumpkin Buttered Rum!
The key ingredient here is a bit of a challenge to find. It’s is definitely a specialty item. I’ve sometimes seen jars of it pulled out into an end-cap holiday display around Thanksgiving. If you get lucky, go ahead and grab it. However, take it from someone who has helplessly wandered the aisles of QFC for half an hour or so – the easiest thing to do is head to Trader Joes. TJ’s faithfully stocks the product all year, so all you have to do is walk in, avoid all the delicious TJ’s snacks and chocolate-covered miscellany and grab the butter. No substitutions – you’ll need it to hit the right pumpkin note.
Top with whipped cream and don’t count any calories – it’s the holidays after all.
Pumpkin Buttered Rum
(adapted from The Kitchn)
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup pumpkin butter
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch kosher salt
Cinnamon (to garnish)
Cream together butter and sugar. Stir in pumpkin butter until combined. Add spices and salt, mix until creamy. This mixture will make a few drinks, so put it in an airtight container and pop it in the fridge. It should stay fresh for 1-2 weeks. (Can you say “make in advance?”)
When you’re ready to make drinks, set some water on to boil. Add a couple tablespoons to the bottom of a mug – you can add more or less to taste. Add 2 oz. of dark rum of your choice. Fill cup with hot water and stir to combine. Top with whipped cream. Garnish with a dash more cinnamon or a whole cinnamon stick
That’s all there is to it! All that’s left now is the roaring fireplace.
Happy Christmas, blogland!