A Publication of WTVP

In for the Night

by Dustin Crawford |

Welcome back to Mixology 101.

Welcome to the new year with its requisite cold, wind and ice! It is time to cozy up with a blanket in the evenings and enjoy a hot drink with flavor, kick, aroma and texture.

Today we are going back to colonial days, but with a modern twist! Nothing raises one’s spirits quite like a hot buttered rum, and this version will do much the same. It is delicious and smooth but with one flaw: It leaves a buttery rinse in your mouth that can ruin the enjoyment of the finish. We will defeat that flaw with fat-washing, a technique that imparts the flavors of oil-based ingredients and leaves the palate refreshed. We will brown the butter first to get some nutty flavors, while pairing it with some hazelnut liqueur.

First, we must pick out a rum with plenty of flavor and backbone that won’t be lost in the fat-washing process. I landed on an aged black strap molasses rum from Cruzan and two sticks of salted Kerry Gold butter.

Pour the rum into a large mason jar that has room at the top. Cut the butter into small pieces in a pan and cook on medium while stirring for five to eight minutes; it will foam and sizzle on the sides but that will subside and the milk solids will toast on the bottom of the pan. Remove the pan from heat and pour directly into the mason jar with the rum. Put the lid on the mason jar and shake the mixture every 15-30 minutes for two to four hours, allowing the browned butter to infuse into the rum. Place in your freezer overnight. The next day, strain the mixture through a cheesecloth. You now have browned butter washed rum and the beginning of a very tasty drink!

Regarding the tools, for this cocktail you will need a measuring jigger, a water kettle, and a heatproof glass or mug. I often use an Irish coffee mug. This is a built drink so no shaking or stirring tools are necessary.

Next, the ingredients. To the mug add:

  • 2 dashes molasses bitters
  • 2 dashes toasted almond bitters
  • 0.5 oz. rich demerara syrup
  • 0.5 oz. Frangelico hazelnut liqueur
  • 1.5 oz. brown butter washed rum
  • 4 oz. of very hot water

As for the PROCESS, it’s already done, as again, a built cocktail requires no mixing. All that is left is to garnish. Some whipped cream, cocoa powder, and a stick of cinnamon will top this drink quite well. I prefer to add a star anise, too.

Time to sip and enjoy!

Dustin Crawford

Dustin Crawford

is co-owner — with partner Kip Rodier — of the 33 Room in Peoria Heights. Prior to that, the U.S. Marine Corps veteran traveled the world before returning home to work his magic behind the bar at various central Illinois establishments.