Festive Cocktails for the Holidays
by Linda Stewart
As the holidays approach, and we gather together around a cozy fireplace with family and friends, our thoughts automatically turn to the comestibles of celebration. And, cocktails, of course, are at the top of the list. As the chill of winter settles in (yes, even we Southern Californians experience cool mornings and evenings), the thought of a hot spicy toddy brings much comfort.
Hot Buttered Rum is one of those popular, warm, spiced drinks that definitely fits the bill. The traditional buttered rum drink was made fashionable when rum moved into the American Colonies from the Caribbean. This drink consisted of dark rum, butter, and spices. I prefer the more contemporary “batter” version, which makes a richer, creamier toddy and doesn’t separate. The batter keeps well in the freezer. I like to add a little more complexity to the drink by adding some cardamom, but this is an optional spice. I have spent some time this last year perfecting the following recipe – I wanted something luscious, but not too sweet. Melting the butter first brings out the aromatics of the spices.
Hot Buttered Rum Batter:
1 cup butter (2 cubes)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
1 quart vanilla ice cream, softened
1 Tbs. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cardamom (optional)
Melt butter in a saucepan; stir in spices and cook for one minute. Remove from heat and mix in vanilla and salt. Cool slightly. Place ice cream in a mixer and slowly beat in butter mixture. Continue beating for one to two minutes until batter is fully blended. Freeze batter in a covered container until ready to use.
To make one mug of hot buttered rum:
Pour 1 to 1½ ounces of dark rum in a large mug. Add two tablespoons of batter and fill with boiling water. Stir well. Grate fresh nutmeg on top and add a cinnamon stick for garnish. Enjoy!
For a Christmas-colored cocktail, try a beautiful green Ty Ku Citrus Liqueur libation garnished with bright, dark red Bing cherries, fresh cranberries, or pomegranate seeds. Ty Ku Citrus, a Japanese barley spirit, contains green tea, honeydew melon, and exotic superfruits: yuzu, a citrus with a grapefruit-like flavor; mangosteen, a sweet, fragrant fruit; and gojiberry, a high-protein, tart berry. An added plus is that this flavorful liqueur has only 60 calories per ounce. Note: the Ty Ku bottle is supposed to light up when a button is pushed on the bottom, but I couldn’t get my bottle light to work. You may want to check out the light before purchasing the bottle.
Ty Ku Citrus Cocktail:
2 oz. Ty Ku Citrus
1½ oz. vodka
2 oz. white cranberry juice
½ oz. fresh lime juice
Garnish: fresh cranberries, Bing cherry or pomegranate seeds
Place Ty Ku Citrus, vodka, cranberry juice, and lime juice in a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice cubes. Shake vigorously for at least 30 seconds. Pour into a martini or coupe glass. Garnish with a dark Bing cherry (Bada Bing Cherries), fresh cranberries, or pomegranate seeds.
The author enjoys hot buttered rum with friends. Left to right: Linda Stewart, Bob Miller, Terri Miller, Caralee Taylor. Back: Bill Taylor