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Welcome to WFAEats — a fun adventure where we explore all things tasty and interesting in the Charlotte food scene. We want to share stories, recipes and culinary escapades and hear about yours!

Good For What Ails You: Hot Buttered Rum


Welcome to the worst part of winter. Everyone is coughing, sneezing, and wheezing. If you’ve tried every medication over the counter and under it, here’s an old school remedy that just might help.

Hot buttered rum.

Ordinarily, I’d tell you a bit about the history of the sugar and rum trades in the Americas, and explain the differences between the concoctions drunk here in Colonial times and the toddies that were popular in Europe.

But we don’t have time for that now. We need relief, and we need it fast.

Everyone from Emeril to Martha Stewart seems to have a favorite method for making hot buttered rum. Some recipes require you to prepare a “batter” of the dry ingredients, which you must then refrigerate until some later point in time, when you’ll roll the stuff into little balls and douse with liquid – before you finally get something you can sip.

This is not that method. This is not for fun, this is medicine. So without further delay, here is the recipe for the quickest fix.

Fast and Hot Buttered Rum (no measuring required)

  • Boiling water
  • Sugar, white or brown; or honey
  • Rum
  • Butter
  • Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger or other spices as desired

Fill a heatproof mug about 2/3 with boiling water. Stir in a spoonful of sugar or honey until dissolved. Fill the rest of the way with rum, then plop in a slice of butter. Sprinkle with spices to taste. Sip, and feel better.

Serves one.

Variation: Substitute whiskey for the rum, or omit the butter and add a slice of lemon.

Amy Rogers is the author of Hungry for Home: Stories of Food from Across the Carolinas and Red Pepper Fudge and Blue Ribbon Biscuits. Her writing has also been featured in Cornbread Nation 1: The Best of Southern Food Writing, the Oxford American, and the Charlotte Observer. She is founding publisher of the award-winning Novello Festival Press. She received a Creative Artist Fellowship from the Arts and Science Council, and was the first person to receive the award for non-fiction writing. Her reporting has also won multiple awards from the N.C. Working Press Association. She has been Writer in Residence at the Wildacres Center, and a program presenter at dozens of events, festivals, arts centers, schools, and other venues. Amy Rogers considers herself “Southern by choice,” and is a food and culture commentator for NPR station WFAE.
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