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Hot Buttered Rum


Photo: J.M. Giordano, License: N/A

J.M. Giordano

Bernard Lyons serves Hot Buttered Rum at Bertha’s

Four toasty cocktails to keep you warm during the next polar vortex.

Hot Buttered Rum


734 S. Broadway, (410) 327-5795,

The bespectacled Mancunian bartender at Bertha’s, Bernard Lyons, has to order a 40-pound case of cinnamon sticks each winter in hopes of keeping up with the demand for his hot buttered rum ($6); a long segment of the spice garnishes each mugful of the traditional wintertime drink, the base for which Lyons makes himself, according to his own time-tested recipe. The paste—equal parts butter and dark brown sugar, with about half a pint of Captain Morgan Black spiced rum added—looks none too appealing in batch form (“it’s basically just a big mess,” he says), but when Lyons mixes a spoonful with boiling water and tops it off with more rum, the result is a gorgeous amber-colored brew with a frothy tan head. A Harry Potter fan might mistake it for hot butterbeer. There’s a dose of sugar in the drink (Lyons uses Domino), but it doesn’t cloy. Spice from the rum hits the palate first, and after a second, the sweetness subsides; slightly salty butterfat coats the inside of one’s mouth. Lyons shares the formula for his special blend with a comment: “It’s funny, I’ve given people the recipe for it. It’s very simple, but they never seem to get it right.” For those experimenting at home, dark rum and dark brown sugar—to keep it from being too sweet—are musts.


1 pound (4 sticks) salted butter
1 pound dark brown sugar
7 ounces dark rum
Boiling water
1 1/2 ounces dark rum
Cinnamon stick (optional)


Mix butter, sugar, and the 7 ounces of rum to make a paste. To make one serving, put a heaping teaspoon of the paste into a large mug and pour in boiling water, leaving two fingers’ worth of space at the top of the mug. Pour in the additional shot of rum. Stir with a cinnamon stick.

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