As mentioned in my Dairy-Free Coquito post a couple of weeks ago, my friend Eleanor has started a new podcast called Drinking Sensei. The synergy between her show, my website, and a lot more time at home, has led us to do a mini-series on dairy-free beverages. This week’s experiment was dairy-free hot buttered rum, and boy did we have fun with it. You can listen to the podcast right here ↓, followed by the buttery comparison tasting notes, and then the delicious dairy-free recipe below!
Dairy vs Dairy-Free Hot Buttered Rum: You Won’t Believe Who Won
Some recipes use ice cream to make a batter, but the more “traditional” hot buttered rum recipes are made simply with butter, sugar, spices, and rum. We chose the latter to do some fun comparison experiments.
We took a well-loved recipe, and made it with salted butter, unsalted butter, and five different vegan butter alternatives. Then, we did a blind taste test, where Eleanor and Tony didn’t know which drink was which. Since neither of them has an issue with dairy, they were able to compare all of the dairy and dairy-free versions. But again, I didn’t tell them which one was which! I did a blind taste test, too, but with the dairy-free butters only.
Which Butter is Best in Hot Buttered Rum?
You won’t believe the results!! The dairy-free butters beat the dairy butters, hands down! Only one of the vegan butters scored below the two dairy butters.
- Flora Plant Butter, Unsalted – The winner was unanimous. We each agreed it had a seamless flavor that was the most drinkable. I thought it was a bit cookie dough-esque.
- Miyokos Cultured Vegan Butter, Hint of Salt – Interestingly, this was the only one that had no color in the top buttery layer. It looked less impressive, but the taste was delicious. It was mellow, but had a sultry depth.
- Flora Plant Butter, Salted – The flavor was very balanced and the butteriness was pleasant. Everyone liked this one, too. It just didn’t grab us as much as the first and second place winners.
- Earth Balance Buttery Spread, Original – It was a very close call between 3rd and 4th place. Earth Balance provided a very full-bodied and rich flavor that we all truly enjoyed. But it had a little bit of an after taste that left us indifferent.
- Butter (Dairy), Salted – Greasy, flat, and tasting mostly of rum were words used to describe this classic hot buttered rum.
- Butter (Dairy), Unsalted – Again, the consensus was greasy, flat, and thin with this real butter, but tthe unsalted also lacked in flavor. It pretty much tasted like sweet rum.
- Country Crock Plant Butter Sticks, with Almond Oil – Everyone made a funny face with this one. It was too oily, too salty, and had a weird aftertaste. I have tried Country Crock plant butter in their other varieties, and think they might have similar issues. Each one is very salty and has a strong flavor.
Special Diet Notes: Dairy-Free Hot Buttered Rum
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, optionally soy-free, optionally vegan, and vegetarian.
- ⅔ cup packed dark brown sugar
- ½ cup dairy-free butter alternative (see post above for recommendations), room temperature
- ¼ cup honey (can sub agave nectar for strictly vegan)
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¾ cup spiced rum
- 2 cups boiling water
- Cinnamon sticks, for garnish (optional)
- Put the brown sugar, butter alternative, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a mixing bowl, and whisk or beat with a hand mixer until combined and relatively smooth.
- Transfer the mixture to a large glass measuring cup or small pitcher. Add the boiling water and rum, and stir until the buttery-sugar mixture dissolves, about 3 minutes.
- Divide the buttered rum between 4 mugs, and serve garnished with a cinnamon stick for stirring. There can be a little separation, but that's part of the experience.