To celebrate a day of accomplishments and firsts I had to create a cocktail for our new Vice President Kamala Harris and came up with an Indian Hot Buttered Rum. With elements from both Jamaica and India, it’s a complex set of flavors with a big kick of fun in it. The best part, in my opinion, is the garam masala-spiced butter which sweetens the hot buttered rum while adding a great savory kick.
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Celebrating an Historic Inauguration
I wasn’t planning on posting about the inauguration. Inside, I had a lot of dread about things. I didn’t know if I should watch the inauguration or if I should put my head down. My mind was racing with the kind of crazy things might happen. I was afraid.
It’s probably just me. I want to be ecstatic, but we’re broken. But when Kamala took her oath I had tears in my eyes and I just had to take a minute to see what was accomplished.
For a hundred or a thousand reasons, it matters: “If we merge mercy with might, and might with right, then love becomes our legacy, and change our children’s birthright,” said poet Amanda Gorman. That quote is going to stick with me for a long time.
I don’t change much in the world making cocktails, but I wanted to honor VP Harris and the progress that we saw today. The step forward. A glimmer of a way forward.
On the Flavors in the Indian Hot Buttered Rum
I put together a warm drink, for all the wind and cold weather the new leadership experienced at the capitol, and to honor Kamala’s heritage: Jamaican rum, garam masala-spiced butter, coconut rum, allspice dram. This hot buttered rum takes no prisoners with a unique set of spices and spirits.
On the Jamaican side we have the pot still rum with that little bit of Jamaican funk. I’ve also got some Carribean flavors with coconut and allspice dram as well.
But on the Indian side I have both the chai tea base and the garam masala butter mix. And together, their blend of sweet and savory spices makes this Indian hot buttered rum a revelation.
What’s in Garam Masala?
Garam Masala is a South Asian spice mix that differs by region, but commonly includes cinnamon, cumin, pepper, cloves, cardamom and coriander. The ingredients are usually toasted, then ground into a power for use as a seasoning. Each state, city and even family may have different ideas of what the spice mix includes and it’s flavor ratios, so recipes vary wildly.
How to Make a Hot Buttered Rum Mix
To make the garam masala rum batter I used Penzy’s garam masala spice mix with softened butter, extra cinnamon, a little cayenne pepper and a healthy dose of brown sugar. While you can make the butter sweeter if you like, I prefer a ratio of 2:1 butter to sugar, so I used ½ cup of softened buttered to 2 oz brown sugar.
Making a buttered rum mix is easy once the butter is softened. Let the butter come to room temperature so it’s very soft and cream it with the brown sugar. Because we’re using rum for the spirit portion I wanted to tie the molasses and caramel taste of the brown sugar with the flavors of the rum and allspice dram.
Once the butter and sugar are creamed together, add the 3/4 teaspoon ground garam masala, cinnamon and cayenne pepper and mix until well-integrated. Refrigerate when you’re finished.
How to Make Indian Hot Buttered Rum
For this hot buttered rum recipe, you want to start with a hot mug. While you’re gathering your ingredients, fill the heat-safe mug with boiling water to warm. Make the chai tea, get out the hot buttered rum mix and gather your spirits.
For this cocktail we want to add a little coconut rum, and allspice dram. Coupled with the Indian spices they make the drink a great fusion of tropical and exotic South Asian flavors.
To build the drink, put the rum, allspice dram and coconut rum in the warmed mug. Add 4-6 oz of hot chai tea. Add 1-2 tablespoons of the Indian hot buttered rum batter and stir until very well combined. You’ll see a creamy butter floating on the surface and the cocktail itself will become cloudy.
For this hot buttered rum I added 2 tablespoons of the spiced butter mix in my final version, but I love sweet hot buttered rums. Note that even with a low-proof rum, the heat from the cocktail warms the alcohol and makes it much more noticeable than in a chilled drink. You don’t need to add high proof spirits to warm cocktails. They’ll easily overpower them. Use an 80-95 proof spirit.
For garnish, I went simple with a dried mango, cinnamon stick, and star anise, but just a sprinkle of ground nutmeg would work as well.
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You probably already have these, but you may need them, too:
Indian Hot Buttered Rum – Kamala’s Birthright
- 1 oz Jamaican rum
- 1/2 oz coconut rum
- 1/2 oz allspice dram
- 4-6 oz chai tea
- 1-2 tablespoons garam masala butter mix room temperature
- Garnish: dried mango or coconut, cinnamon stick, star anise
- Heat a mug and set aside. Gather ingredients. Add rums, allspice dram and chai tea to the hot mug and stir. Add 1-2 tablespoons of masala butter mix to the drink and stir until creamy and combined. Garnish.
- 4 T butter, softened
- 1/4 c brown sugar
- 3/4 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 shakes of cayenne pepper
- 1 shake salt (if you’re using unsalted butter)
This would be excellent on sweet potatoes or in bean soups.