The Cool Trick for Making Grease-Free Hot Buttered Rum

Bourbon Steak DC's Hot "Buttered" Rum © Olga Berman
By Justine Sterling Posted December 08, 2014

Too often hot buttered rum arrives topped with an unappetizing, shimmering oil slick. Bartender Duane Sylvestre of Bourbon Steak DC has a fix: fat-washing.

Hot buttered rum is an easy way to transform a cold winter night into a #cozyscenario. Unfortunately, this creamy, boozy mix of rum, hot water and spiced butter often arrives topped with an unappetizing, shimmering oil slick. Bartender Duane Sylvestre of Bourbon Steak DC has a fix: fat-washing.

Fat-washing is a technique commonly used these days to infuse a spirit with the flavor of some sort of fatty meat without any of the fat. If you’ve ever had a bacon Manhattan, you’ve probably enjoyed the fruits of someone’s fat-washing labor. But in the case of his hot buttered rum, Sylvestre opts to impart the flavor of spiced butter to water instead of bacon to bourbon.

To make the butter-flavored broth, he browns butter; adds whole spices, ginger, sugar and water; then puts the liquid in the fridge. The fat rises to the top, leaving a creamy liquid below. Sylvestre pokes a hole in the solids, pours out the sweet, spiced broth, heats it up and mixes it with rum. The result is a rich, oil slick-free, creamy cup of warm, buttery rum. “It’s super goody goody,” Sylvestre says. “They won’t let me take it off the menu.” Here, the recipe for his fat-washed buttered rum.

Brown Buttered Broth
1 pound butter
1 pound dark brown sugar
6-8 3-inch cinnamon sticks
60 whole allspice berries
5-6 star anise pods
3-inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced thin
70 whole cloves
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 cups water

Brown the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Fry the spices and ginger in the butter. Add the water and sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from the heat. When the liquid is room temperature, pour into a bowl or container and place in the refrigerator until the butter solidifies. Strain out the solids, discard and reserve the broth in the fridge.

Hot “Buttered” Rum
1 1/2 ounces Mount Gay Black Barrel rum
1/2 ounce Gosling’s Black Seal rum
5 ounces Brown Buttered Broth, heated
Whipped cream

Pour everything into a latte glass, top with a dollop of whipped cream and serve.

Related: 14 Warming Drinks
12 Holiday Drinks
Star Chefs' Favorite Holiday Cocktails

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