Drinking Dairy and Dairy Free Hot Buttered Rum with Alisa

Hot Buttered Rum with our favorite Koloa Rum (Image credit Koloa Rum Company)

In keeping with our holiday cocktail theme Alisa from godairyfree and I decided to do a blind taste test on the podcast of the well known Hot Buttered Rum. She provided five dairy free options for us to try and I supplied two butters one unsalted and one salted. For our rum we used one of my favorites that I’ve been purchasing over and over, Koloa brand. I don’t know what it is about their rum, but I’ve loved every one of them that I’ve tried. I know I could buy some rums that are a bit cheaper, but Koloa has never let me down. The non-dairy butters we used were Earth Balance, Flora (salted and unsalted), Country Crock, and Miyokos. Alisa mentions that Earth Balance is probably the easiest spreadable non-dairy butter to find and when I went to get it from the store there were quite a few flavors to choose from. I bought original for our recipe. The dairy versions of butter that I used were just a generic Safeway brand salted and unsalted butter.

Koloa Kauai Spiced Rum

Hot Buttered Rum Recipe (Adapted from Food Network’s Recipe)
Makes 4 Servings
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 Stick) butter of your choice at room temperature
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup spiced rum (Koloa if you can find it)
2 cups boiling water
cinnamon sticks for garnish.
* we left out a pinch of salt because some of the butters were salted.
Mix the dry ingredients, honey and butter together using a mixer and then add the rum and boiling water.

Alisa, Tony and I dove in and set up the 1/2 servings of each buttered rum and while I completely had no idea which was which, Alisa knew which ones were real butter and which were not. The outcome of all three of us basically came out the same. Neither Tony or I liked any of them with real butter. Alisa obviously couldn’t try due to her allergies, but she pretended to try so we wouldn’t have an indication which butte they might be. Our top four choices starting in reverse order:

Butters used for our taste test (not pictured: Country Crock)

4. Earth Balance (non-dairy): Easy to find and with a mellow flavor, Earth Balance is a good choice if you can’t find the others in our top 3.
3. Flora Unsalted (non-dairy) : Found around the world and new to the US, Flora was a great option, but we’re not quite sure where to find it in Hawaii.
2. Miyokos hint of salt (non-dairy): One of Alisa’s top choices for non dairy butter overall, this option did not separate like the rest of the butters, but had a great overall flavor.
1. Flora Salted (non-dairy): This was a unanimous decision by all of us. It was mellow yet flavorful, maybe the salted added just a bit of what was needed to put it ahead of Miyokos.

No matter what you decide to use when making a hot buttered rum, be prepared for a cookie in a glass. This drink isn’t necessarily one that I’ll recreate every year, but I’m glad I tried it. The Wikipedia article that I read of this drink stated that early colonial settlers believed rum to be nutritious and a strengthener of the body. I’m going to go along with that thought process and keep drinking rum. Listen to the episode wherever you listen to podcasts, don’t forget to rate and subscribe! You can find me at drinkingsensei on Instagram, drinkingsenseipodcast on Facebook or send me an email at

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