I'm looking at recipes for Hot Buttered Rum, as I have plenty of rum and it's cold out. Several of the recipes call for vanilla ice cream. Is that traditional? What is it for? Wouldn't it just cool off some of the water and possibly interfere with the steeping of the spices? Would it be better to just toss in some vanilla and extra sugar, or does the milk content actually change anything?

Example with ice cream: http://www.drinksmixer.com/drink5667.html

Example without: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/hot-buttered-rum-cocktail-recipe/index.html

5 Answers 5


I don't think I've ever even had hot buttered rum, but I can take a stab at some of your questions:

  • 1 part ice cream and 2-3 parts boiling water will still average out pretty hot. If the ice cream is at, say, -20 to -10C, that'll get you in the 60-70C range initially, which is I think fairly normal for hot drinks. And of course, if you keep it in the refrigerator instead, your drink will be hotter!

  • I suspect mixing ice cream with butter will help it all mix together better in the end, by helping disperse the fat.

  • Ground spices aren't going to need a ton of steeping. I imagine the boiling water would be enough, and if not, the pre-cooking could easily compensate. And since some recipes just have nutmeg sprinkled on top, it sounds like steeping isn't necessarily the goal. If you're really aiming for spiced hot buttered rum, you'll probably want more spices than those recipes, and perhaps to cook them briefly with the butter.

  • If you intend to freeze the "batter", including ice cream will help keep it soft enough to scoop/slice. If it were just butter and sugar, it'd get quite hard in the freezer.

  • Yes, the milk/cream content of the ice cream would make the drink a little creamier - but I don't know whether hot buttered rum should be a bit creamy. It sounds like it'd be fine either way - personal preference, perhaps?

  • Thanks, that's the sort of pros and cons I was looking for :) I'll experiment some later this week. Nov 15, 2011 at 23:54
  • 1
    Bullet one is rather incorrect. It assumes zero latent heat from melting. If I do take it into account, 1 part ice cream at -10C and 2 parts boiling water at +80C would end up at (-10-30+80+80)/3 = 40 degrees Celsius. (Depends quite a bit on the ice recipe, how fat is it?)
    – MSalters
    Nov 29, 2011 at 13:54
  • @MSalters: My estimate was conservative. The 1:2 or 1:3 ratio is assuming you've refrozen the entire mixture. If you're just mixing it up and then using it right away, as the recipe says, only the ice cream was frozen, and the other ingredients were heated, so you're definitely okay. As for latent heat, it's not as bad as you estimate. The given recipe has roughly 200g sugar, 225g butter, 250g ice cream. So the water content is actually pretty low: 125-150g of the ice cream (if it's not light) 40g of the butter, so maybe 1/3 by weight. (Also how exactly is your water boiling at 80C?)
    – Cascabel
    Nov 29, 2011 at 17:41
  • Eh, I might have peeked at the recipe that used boiling water and non-boling rum. The butter also melts between 0C and 50C, so its latent heatalso enters the equation (although it's smaller).
    – MSalters
    Nov 30, 2011 at 19:49
  • @Jefromi Very good +1 Mar 1, 2012 at 20:22

I tried the recipe with ice cream this weekend. It was a hit with my guests - we found we didn't particularly want to try the recipe without, as the ice cream seemed to be lending a nice mellowness to the drink that made it particularly palatable to those of us who were not heavy drinkers. It also didn't freeze solid, instead remaining easy to scoop.


No Hot Buttered Rum I've ever ordered has involved ice cream, though I would be interested in trying it out.

The original involves only rum, butter, sugar, spices and hot water. I've seen some bars make and keep their own pre-mixed spiced butter with honey, molasses and dark sugar. I guess the ice cream is an extension to that pre-made mixture.

For the purist's Hot Buttered Rum, watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9wNGIgN_f8


Having made it both ways, ice cream has earned the spot as my go to. With all do respect to the science, it just tastes richer, smoother and compliments the spices more than just sugar. Enjoy!


I've seen this a lot, too. I'm guessing the ice cream acts as a creamy emulsifier, helping to integrate the fat of the butter without diluting the total fat content or flavor. It also stores at a good consistency in the freezer, and may also help mellow the butter flavor if it seems overpowering.

Here are some additional Hot Buttered Rum recipes to compare. Cheers!

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