I’m a beer person. I can never remember the order of that rule, beer after liquor before beer. No matter what, I always end up in the “never sicker” camp. So I stick with beer and steer clear of concoctions with the word “juice” in the title. I’m lying though. Sure, I’ll try the swamp juice.
Still, there is something about the cold weather that makes me want to revel in the evil liquor. I had attempted to make hot apple cider in the fall. And no, I didn’t just pick up the apple juice relabeled as cider at Giant. I actually drove 35 miles out into farm country to buy fresh apple cider. Heated that up on the stovetop and poured in a generous amount of the good Captain. I even ladled it into a mug. Who knew I owned a ladle? Then this month, I nogged it up with Captain Morgan and Silk Nog. Hot Buttered Rum was the clear next step in the beverage experimenting lineage.
Something intoxicated me about the thought of making Hot Buttered Rum. It seemed lofiter, something cool and old-timey, something a grandfather would mix, like a Tom Collins or Dewar’s & Coke. I studied and compared recipes, some with clove, some with vanilla ice cream, and I decided on a version by Emeril. He’s a brand in his own right, so his had to be the best.
I had so romanticized this process in my head that I purchased an entire fifth of Captain Morgan. Even though I don’t have a fireplace, I envisioned it all heating up in a kettle over an open flame. I pictured friends and dogs picking up the scent with their noses and floating in on the wave of nutmeg and cinnamon. Yes, apparently I needed that fifth of rum, even though I already had a half-pint at home.
And then, just because I was in a good mood, and because it was exceedingly orange-colored, I bought a 6-pack of Kalima Fuzzy Navel Malt Beverage. That island greeting,mele kalikimaka strummed in my head.
Emeril’s recipe called for an absurd amount of brown sugar. Two whole cups of it in fact, mixed together with a stick of butter, a teaspoon of nutmeg, a dash of cinnamon, and a pinch of clove. The recipe said to cream it together. There is no way you can cream such a ridiculous amount of gritty brown sugar. Maybe I need some kind of special Emeril tool. We mixed the fuck out of the bowl, but it was not creaming, indignantly remaining the consistency of clumpy ass butter.
The girlfriend swore almost immediately that there was no way she was drinking it. I protested that it wasn’t Christmas unless she did. I suggested we add more butter to help with the consistency. Another dash of nutmeg. We mixed it more. It was getting potent. Still, it did not take on any kind of texture other than that of sugar-coated dog shit.
Add boiling water.
To make matters worse, we had just finished drinking cups of Candy Cane Hot Chocolate from the 7-11. Our stomachs were full of noxious liquids. But you know, I’m stubborn as shit, and I was drinking that Hot Buttered Rum no matter what. Drink to your health damn it. Do it. The girlfriend pinched her nose. I opened the gullet.
While not enjoyable, it was not horrible. The experiment ended early when I heard an “oh my god, disgusting” and the girlfriend shrieked to the sink to spit a chunk down the drain. A whole chunk remained undissolved in boiling water, like a tiny mouse heart covered in brown sugar.
I moved on to the Kalima. Again, the girlfriend swore she would not drink it. I began to protest but pardoned her. This pleasure was all mine. I poured the Hawaiian beauty into a Spuds Mackenzie glass. Yes! Spuds Mackenzie! A strange advertising campaign from the 80s that would have you think Budweiser was once marketed to eight year olds. MOM I WANT WHAT THE DOGGY IS DRINKING!
I loved Spuds. My life became complete when I found a pair of Spuds CHRISTMAS GLASSES. These were perfect to partake in the neon-orange-colored malt beverage.
I had one sip before I gave up on the night. The Kalima had notes of watery milk, a hint of papaya, corn syrup. I blamed my stomach, filled with a tubs of chocolate liquid, nutmeg, rum, the remnants of an Uno’s Deep Dish. The orange crap was not going on top. Even my inner surfing pizza couldn’t hang ten.
In conclusion, Hot Buttered Rum: Not going in with my Christmas traditions. Kalima: Really orange.
Shoulda got beer. MILK WAS A BAD CHOICE.