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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?”
If you fancy yourself a budding high-tech mixologist, try making McMillian-Yates’s tropical cold buttered rum at home—it’s the perfect way to celebrate Christmas in July.
You Butter Bet Your Life
Makes one drink
1 ounce rhum agricole
1/2 ounce blackstrap rum
1/2 ounce orange curaçao
1 1/2 ounce mango nectar
1 ounce cardamom butter syrup (see below)
Freshly grated nutmeg (for garnish)
Pour all of the ingredients (except the nutmeg) into a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into coupe. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
Cardamom Butter Syrup
25 cardamom Pods, crushed
2 cups filtered water
5 grams Poor Man’s Ticaloid 210S (a 9:1 mixture of gum arabic and xanthan gum)
300 grams white sugar
300 grams melted butter
Pinch of salt
Combine crushed cardamom pods with the filtered water in a pot. Simmer for 15 minutes. Let cool and strain. Mix the Poor Man's Ticaloid 210S with the cardamom water in a bowl. Whisk. Add the white sugar. Add the melted butter and a pinch of salt. Mix with a stick blender until combined. Put in a squeeze bottle and keep in the fridge.