I’m not partial to hot buttered rum. Not because I’m a tea-totaler or anything like that, but because of a very specific and unfortunate accident that included the holiday season of 1978, my best friend Kerry, an unsupervised afternoon, and her mother’s fresh, double-batch of rub ball dough.

I don’t want to get into details, but lets just leave it by saying that the smell of rum continues to make me turn a lovely shade of sea foam.

That, however, should not get in our way of merry making.

While Smoking Bishop is mentioned by name, steaming punches are mentioned in general in the feasting scenes of A Christmas Carol and so I decided to extend our holiday cheer a little further by providing you with yet another way to get yourself into the spirit with spirits.

Hot buttered drinks were a good way to hide butter that was starting to turn as well as a way to keep your voice in good order for all the singing you’d be doing. A Hot Tottie was best for the vocal chords for the following reasons:

  • lemon juice strips phlegm from the throat and vocal chords (at least 1TBSP)
  • honey coats the throat (a natural antibiotic too!) (1–2 TBSPs)
  • bourbon relaxes the throat and vocal chords (less than a jigger)
  • hot tea is an excellent delivery device which allows the fumes (of lemon and bourbon) to enter the delicate nasal passages gently as well as do all the other nifty things mentioned above (big steaming mug full).

If you don’t believe me, ask my high school choir director—a former nun—who used to send us home with said recipe when we started to get a cold near concert season. It worked. And that’s all I have to say about that.

On the topic of hot buttered drinks, there is a bit of a span in beliefs and recipes. The best I can give you is this, mix together:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup granulated/white sugar
  • 1-1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 TBSP vanilla extract
  • 1tsp ground nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon to taste

Mash that all together until it makes a thick paste. This can be placed in a tightly covered container and refrigerated throughout the season for quick entertaining (of yourself or with the inclusion of others).

To drink:

  • 1 large heaping spoonful of the butter mix
  • fill drink delivery container (large mug is good) with not-quite-boiling water (like water for chocolate)
  • stir well (this can be tricky–a small whisk can be a good friend here)
  • add 1-1/2–2 oz brown liquor (bourbon, whiskey, brandy…even rum) pick your favorite. If you start with this, much of the alcohol will evaporate during that first stirring. Why waste the fun?

Drink and enjoy.

Strangely, the more you have, the better they are.

Don’t forget the rest of the Dickens of a Christmas blog hopping fun! Please follow the linky-links above to

There will be recipes for the traditional foods Dickens wrote of in A Christmas Carol, or recipes that would have been found in Victorian England around the holidays. There will be a professional reading of the story available as a podcast. There will be giveaways, themed knitting patterns and quite possibly hats! There may be smoking bishop and suet cooked in organs. And there will certainly be much making of merry.
The blog entries will be rolling out starting this week and culminating Thanksgiving weekend to kick off your holidays in Victorian style.
So please do bookmark all our blogs and add them to your rss feeders. We’ll be using the below to link all the blog entries for the entire shebang so that you don’t miss a single one. We hope you enjoy this as much as we know we will! And we hope that you have a DICKENS OF A CHRISTMAS!

In case this has all made you hungry for your own bit of Dickens…

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