Hot Buttered Rum Cider

This is a traditional cold weather drink for country weekends and holiday parties alike. I start making it as soon as the first cold snap is in the air and the apple cider presses start to work at the local farms. The hot mingling flavors of citrus, rum and sugar seem to warm you from the bottom up. I’m giving the recipe for one serving because it is easiest to measure out the amounts into each individual cup. But heat the cider for any number of servings all together in a kettle or saucepan.

volume ounces grams
pure maple syrup 1 teaspoon
dark brown sugar 1 teaspoon (firmly packed)
unsalted butter 1 teaspoon
dark rum 3 tablespoons ( fluid ounces)
lemon quarter, seeded
1 thick orange slice, halved and seeded
3 cloves
unpasteurized apple cider liquid cup
1 long cinnamon stick*
OPTIONAL: long strips of orange zest to wrap around cinnamon stick, for garnish (1 orange yields 2 to 3 long strips)

*Available during the holiday season at specialty food stores.

A “stripper,” available in gourmet equipment stores such as Williams-Sonoma, is the best implement for making long strips of orange zest. Zest means the colored part only, not the bitter white pith beneath.


In a large mug, combine the maple syrup, brown sugar, butter and rum. With the tip of a knife, remove any pits. Squeeze the lemon wedge into the mug and then drop it in.

Use a metal skewer to poke 3 holes into the orange rind. Press the cloves into the holes and add this to the mug. If desired, coil orange zest strips around the cinnamon stick. Place the cinnamon stick in the mug.

In a saucepan or microwave oven, heat the apple cider just until small bubbles form around the sides. Pour into the mug and use the cinnamon stick to stir.