IMAGE BY SCOTT MURRY @HOTDOGTACO
The winter months mean two things to those of us braving the howling winds and pounding snowstorms battering our shores. One: The need for a reliable set of boots. And two: Hot, boozy drinks to warm the belly and numb the skin to all the elements throw at us throughout the season.
And for decades, weary seafaring merchants, sailors, and dock workers have turned to the classic hot buttered rum creation to do just that (published recipes for it date back to the 1920s). So the time (and weather, of late) seemed right to seek out a new variation on it from a local haunt.
Which led me to the Theater District’s Sip Wine Bar and Kitchen, and bar manager Brenda Jarillo’s version of it which, in fact, has no rum but scotch, and was born from her memories of growing up in the sparse badlands of upstate New York.
“As a kid my family would make it, and it would smell so good,” she says. “I’m from the middle of nowhere, a place that gets that lake effect snow. So family, crackling fires, coziness. I’m all for recreating that experience where I can.”
Jarillo starts by combining whipped salted butter with grated ginger and lemon zest, and then pours it out onto plastic wrap to roll into a compound butter log. After solidifying in the refridgerator, it becomes easy to chop off a solid tablespoon of it to mix in a pre-warmed glass with some hot water, maple syrp, and ginger liquor (“adds sweetness and a rich texture,” she says).
Once the scotch is added, along with a touch of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove, the blend is mixed up in the glass and settles as a creamy, light gut-warmer. It’s like flannel onesies for your liver, basically.
“It’s that old school apothecary thing,” Jarilo says. “Using scotch gives it just a bit of smoke, so you get the sensory experience of drinking by a fire, instead of drinking straight fire.”
HOT BUTTERED SCOTCH. $10. AVAILABLE NOW AT SIP WINE BAR AND KITCHEN. 581 WASHINGTON ST. 617-956-0888.
Dan is a freelance journalist and has written for publications including Vice, Esquire, the Daily Beast, Fast Company, Pacific Standard, MEL, Leafly, Thrillist, and DigBoston.