January 11th is National Hot Toddy Day; January 17th is National Hot Buttered Rum Day. But we think this Chocolate Hot Toddy recipe (photo #1) is so full of holiday cheer, it deserves to be enjoyed now.

Hot buttered rum, also called a rum toddy, is a type of hot toddy, a venerable warm cocktail made with rum or other spirit, boiling water, sugar or honey, spices and in this case, butter.

The word toddy, which first appears in English around 1600-1610, comes from the Hindi word ta?i. That in turn derives from the word for the juice of the palmyra palm tree, which was fermented into an alcoholic drink.

For food trivia lovers: The word punch also derives from Hindi, panch, after the Sanskrit panchan, meaning five. It refers to the five different ingredients of punch. Here’s more about it.

Warm alcoholic beverages such as glogg, mulled wine and toddies originated in Northern Europe, where beer, cider, wine and spirits were mulled with sugar and spices to add some cheer to cold winter days.

Northern Europeans took their cue from the Romans, who, by the 2nd century, were heating wine to warm themselves [source]. They occupied Britain from the first through fifth centuries C.E.

Over the centuries, the cold weather drink became a standard during the holiday season. It’s what you received when you were offered a “cup of cheer” or “holiday cheer” in Merrie Olde England.

Toddy Comes To The New World

Hot buttered rum was a favorite in Colonial America. Rum is a New World spirit* made from molasses, a by-product of sugar refining. Distilleries in the Colonies† were making rum from the molasses by the 1650s, and “hot buttered rum” joined the toddies and nogs of English tradition.

Hot buttered rum is traditionally made with dark rum, which has been aged in oak barrels to develop a deeper, molasses flavor. You can use light rum or spiced rum for a milder or spicier flavor, respectively.

You may see recipes for, creamy toddies, which add cream or ice cream to the basic recipe. These are new interpretations, not traditional toddies, which were not cream beverages.

Toddies can be made of any spirit; bourbon, brandy, tequila, Scotch and other whiskeys are popular, as is sherry.

Hot toddy’s relatives include glogg, mulled wine, nog and other spirited drinks. Here are the differences.

This recipe was created by chocolatier John Anderson of Napa Valley’s Woodhouse Chocolate, using dark cocoa powder.

He notes: “You can adjust the cocoa in the recipe according to your desired chocolate intensity. Personally I like a subtle chocolate flavor in this drink, but you can certainly go full chocolate if you so desire. This is just one more thing to be thankful for around the holidays!”

Base For 10-12 Servings

  • 1 cup salted butter
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/2-1 cup dark cocoa powder according to taste
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 2 tablespoons of the base
  • 2 ounces gold (amber) rum or dark rum
  • 3 ounces boiling water
  • Garnish: whipped cream

    Chocolate Hot Buttered Rum
    [1] The first chocolate toddy we’ve seen, created by Woodhouse Chocolate.

    Hot Buttered Rum
    [2] Hot buttered rum in a glamorous glass. In Colonial times, metal or stone steins were used (photo courtesy Ron Abuelo).

    Chocolate Hot Buttered Rum
    [3] Do marshmallows work in a cocktail? Try this recipe from The Cookie Rookie.

    Hot Toddy
    [4] A conventional toddy. In Colonial times it was served in a stein (photo courtesy Hella Cocktail Co).


    1. MAKE the base: Beat the ingredients together in a mixer until fluffy and smooth.

    2. PLACE the base into a mug (preferably a glass mug) and add the rum and the water. Stir vigorously until well-combined.

    3. TOPP with whipped cream if desired, and serve.

  • Caramel Hot Buttered Rum
  • Classic Hot Buttered Rum
  • Hot Apple Toddy With Sherry & Calvados
  • Scotch Toddy & Hot Gin Cider
  • ________________

    *Bourbon, cachaça, mezcal, pisco, Tennessee whiskey, tequila and others originated in the New World).

    †While rum was distilled in the Caribbean alongside the sugar plantations, Colonists imported cheap molasses to distilled their own [source].


    THE NIBBLE Blog – Adventures In The World Of Fine Food

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