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Fellows Spotlight
Holiday Treat: Hot Buttered Rum Recipe
December 5, 2022
Photo of a hot buttered rum beverage
Contributed by: Chris Lee, Cohort VI

It’s so hard to believe how fast the holiday season sneaks up on us. While it is a joyous and festive time, it can undoubtedly be very stressful. Lots going on at home; lots to get done at work.

I constantly need to remind myself to take a deep breath and focus on being present. Nonetheless, it’s a time for family and friends, food and drink. This is what I love and look forward to most about this time of year.

My career passion has always revolved around food and beverage. So when I was living in cold, wet Seattle, Washington, and stuck inside during the winter, I would experiment with different foods and drinks. One of my favorites is my version of the classic hot buttered rum. This golden, richly decadent, and comforting drink is perfect for the holiday season, even in Hawai’i.  

There are many versions of hot buttered rum, and you can play with the recipe to your liking. What’s great is that you can make it ahead of time and put in the refrigerator. Then you can either scoop it out for yourself to enjoy, serve it at your next holiday gathering, or share it as a gift.

Hot Buttered Rum


Buttered Rum Mix
Yields 20 servings • Fits two 16-ounce mason jars • Keep refrigerated after preparation

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 2 cups ice cream (vanilla, coffee, chocolate)

Drink Preparation and Garnish

  • Dark rum (for adults; don’t add for keiki)
  • Hot water
  • Whipped cream
  • Cinnamon stick (optional)
  • Star anise (optional)


  1. Soften butter and ice cream and mix all ingredients in a large bowl. If not preparing drinks right away, store this mixture in the refrigerator.
  2. Scoop 2 tablespoons of the mix into a glass.
  3. Add dark rum and hot water. For a keiki-friendly version, omit the dark rum.
  4. Top with whipped cream.
  5. Garnish with cinnamon stick and star anise (optional).

Lastly, I was very fortunate to be raised in a household where our family and friends would often gather to share a meal together during the holidays. There are many others that are not able to enjoy a hot meal or bring joy to their keiki. During this season of giving and gratitude, I’d like to ask that you consider doing what you can to make a difference for someone or support an organization like the Hawaiʻi Foodbank that provides food to our community or The Salvation Army Angel Tree that provides holiday gifts for keiki and kūpuna.

Happy and safe holidays to you all!