Winter Cocktail: Pecan Pie Hot Buttered Rum
November 24, 2020
‘Tis the season for warm cocktails! And while I love the idea of just adding various cream liqueurs to my coffee, the upcoming holidays call for something a bit more festive, like a pecan pie hot buttered rum. This twist on a classic is the perfect winter cocktail. And it really hits that sweet spot of cozy, sweet, and spicy.
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Like a lot of my recipes, this one is a mash-up of two different things that are already amazing on their own. But put them together, and you get a really good depth of flavor. There’s a subtle nuttiness and robust sweetness from the pecan pie syrup. That’s mixed with a fragrant and spicy compound butter, along with the bold dark rum.
What You Need to Get Started
- Pantry: Brown sugar, Granulated sugar, Molasses, Pecans
- Fridge: Butter, Whipped cream
- Spice Rack: Cinnamon, Allspice, Cloves, Cardamom, Nutmeg, Cinnamon stick
- From the Bar: Dark rum
- Equipment: Saucepan, Mason jars, Mesh strainer, Mixing bowl, Hand mixer, Baking sheet, Glass mugs, Long-handled spoon
Let’s Make a Hot Winter Cocktail
In a typical hot buttered rum, the sugar would be mixed into the butter, creating a sort of “batter” that is dissolved into the rum and hot water. However, in this recipe, I decided to start with a syrup instead. Mostly, this was for an easy way to add in the pecan pie flavors I was looking for.
To get started, add a mix of brown and white sugar to a small saucepan along with molasses and a bit of water. I decided to go with a 2-to-1 ratio of sugar to water, which allows for a richer syrup. But it does take just a bit longer for the sugars to dissolve.
Heat over medium, stirring gently but consistently until the mixture is smooth and there is no graininess left from the sugars. You don’t want to bring it to a boil, so if it starts bubbling before it’s dissolved, turn the heat down a bit.
Once it’s smooth, turn off the heat and transfer the liquid to a pint-sized mason jar. Add in the pecan and gently stir to coat them. Then loosely cover and set the mixture aside overnight, or at least 8 hours.
After resting, close the jar tightly and invert it a few times. Then pour it through a mesh strainer into a clean jar, separating out the pecans. You can use this right away, or store in in the fridge.
If you’d like, you can also use the pecans as a garnish or a sweet snack. Toss them with some more sugar, and dry them out in the oven on a foil-lined sheet pan. These will store well at room temperature, covered, for a few days.
Since we pulled the sugar out of the batter for the rum, instead it ends up being more of a compound butter. Essentially, you want to mix all the spices into very soft butter, and whip it up until it’s uniform.
Be sure you are working with soft butter. Room temperature can work if your kitchen is warm. But if it seems too hard, microwave in 10-second increments until it’s very soft. However, don’t let it melt. If you start to see any liquid melted butter, it’s definitely soft enough.
Add the super soft butter and all of the spices to a mixing bowl, then grab your hand mixer, fitted with the beater attachments to mix it up. The finely ground spices can create a bit of dust in the air, so start the mixer on low, and work your way up to medium. It’s ready when the butter is fluffy and uniformly mixed.
If you are making this in advance, you can store the butter in the fridge. However, make sure you let both the butter and the syrup warm up to room temperature before mixing the cocktail. Otherwise, it may be difficult for everything to dissolve.
When you are ready to make the drinks, put the water in the kettle to boil. In each mug, add a scoop of the compound butter, some of the pecan pie syrup, and a couple ounces of dark rum. If you want even more flavor, you can even use a spiced rum.
When the water is boiling, pour it right into the mugs. Be sure to leave a bit of space at the top for stirring and garnish. Then use a long-handled spoon (like an iced tea or ice cream sundae spoon) to stir until the butter is fully dissolved into the liquid.
It will be a dark golden brown, and may have a bit of foam on top, depending on how vigorously you were stirring. After mixing, set the mugs aside to let the drinks cool for a few moments. It can be hard to resist, but trust me, sipping on that boiling water is not a fun feeling.
Top each much with some whipped cream if you’d like, then add the garnish. You can use the candied pecans, a cinnamon stick, or a dusting of cinnamon and other spices. Have some fun with it.
If you are making a few of these at a time, you can mix a larger batch in a heat-proof bowl or pot. Simply multiply the amount of butter, syrup, rum, and water. Then whisk to dissolve and mix everything together. Pour equal portions into mugs and garnish as desired.
Get cozy with a warm fire, a good book, and a mug of pecan pie hot buttered rum this holiday season!
How to Serve Hot Buttered Rum
After mixing the drinks, serve immediately. They will begin to cool quickly, and this cocktail tastes much better warm. So be sure to enjoy it, but not linger over it for too long. You can always mix up a second mug. I know I did.
This drink works perfectly after a holiday dinner. You can serve it before a dessert course or alongside it. Try it paired with festive treats like a bourbon-rye crust apple tart or a pear and apple crisp. For something more casual, serve cinnamon roll cupcakes.
Or you can have this delicious drink as a coffee alternative with brunch. Serve it with pear tart bars with goat cheese crumble or a caramelized onion cheesecake. If you have guests looking for something non-alcoholic, offer them a hot pear cider instead for a similar feel.
Use Up Leftover Ingredients
- Pecans are one of my favorite nuts! Try using them in the crust of yogurt lemon bars, or in a vegan breakfast sausage.
- Cardamom is such a unique spice that goes perfectly with fall flavors. Add it to an easy apple strudel for an impressive dessert.
- Allspice & Cloves add fragrant flavors to many dishes. I love them in my favorite oatmeal cream cheese cookie sandwiches.
- Dark Rum is a classic liquor your bar needs. Plus, you can use it in another fun winter cocktail with pear and cinnamon.
Pecan Pie Hot Buttered Rum
Pecan Pie Syrup
- ½ Cup Brown Sugar
- ½ Cup Sugar
- 1 Tbsp Molasses
- ¼ Cup Water
- ⅓ Cup Pecans
- 2 tsp Sugar optional
Spiced Compound Butter
- ½ Cup (1 stick) Butter softened
- 1 Tbsp Cinnamon
- ½ tsp Ground Allspice
- ½ tsp Ground Cloves
- ¼ tsp Cardamom
- ¼ tsp Ground Nutmeg
Hot Buttered Rum
- 1 oz Pecan Pie Syrup
- 1 Tbsp Spiced Compound Butter
- 2 oz Dark Rum
- 6-8 oz Water boiling
- Whipped Cream optional
- Cinnamon Stick optional
Pecan Pie Syrup
- Combine the sugars, molasses, and water in a small saucepan, and cook on medium until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is smooth.
- Turn off the heat and transfer to a glass jar. Stir in the pecans and let the syrup cool and infuse overnight, loosely covered.
- Then cover tightly and invert the jar 3-4 times to mix gently. Pour the syrup through a mesh strainer into a clean jar and store in fridge for up to 3 weeks.
- To make the candied pecans (optional): Toss the strained pecans with sugar, and spread in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake at 200°F for 90 minutes, until dried. Let cool, and use as a garnish or snack.
Spiced Compound Butter
- Add the butter to a small mixing bowl. If it is not quite soft, microwave in ten second increments until very soft. Do not melt.
- Add the spices, and use a hand mixer on low to whip everything together until smooth. Store in a sealed container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Let come to room temperature before using in the rum.
Hot Buttered Rum
- Bring water to a boil. Then add the compound butter, syrup, and rum to a 10-12 oz mug.
- Pour in the hot water, and stir with a long-handled spoon until the butter is dissolved. Top with whipped cream, candied pecans, or a cinnamon stick as desired, and serve immediately.
- Make ahead tip: The syrup and butter can both be made in advance and stored in the fridge. Allow them to warm up to room temperature before mixing the rum.
- Non-alcoholic alternative: Try using alcohol-free rum, or leaving it out completely. You can replace the rum with additional water, and a 1/2 tsp of rum extract for a similar flavor, but it will not be exactly the same.
- Vegan/dairy-free alternative: I have not tried using dairy-free butter in this recipe, but it should work with most varieties. If you try, let me know how it goes