Hot buttered rum is a wintertime staple. Tiki cocktails are summertime musts. Now, South Water Kitchen in Chicago is bringing the two seasonally oppositional tipples together to create a new, revolutionary cocktail: a tropical cold buttered rum called You Butter Bet Your Life.
Bartender Eric McMillian-Yates first came up with the idea for the cocktail after reading a recipe for a cold butter syrup that was emulsified and stabilized with hydrocolloids in mad cocktail scientist Dave Arnold’s book, Liquid Intelligence. “When I came across Arnold’s recipe, I knew it was something I wanted to experiment with because it sounded both amazingly simple and utterly impossible at the same time,” he says. He decided to use it in a tiki-style take on a buttered rum because of the syrup’s rich and funky flavors, which work perfectly with the complex, layered flavors typical of tiki drinks.
To make the cocktail, McMillian-Yates flavors the buttery syrup with cardamom for extra depth, then plays on its earthy flavors with rhum agricole, a uniquely vegetal rum distilled from sugar cane juice instead of molasses. He adds mango nectar because “mango and cardamom are classic partners,” orange curaçao for balance and blackstrap rum because, “a common question that comes up in classic tiki is why use one rum when you can use two?”