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Hot Buttered Cider – Holiday Drink Recipe

It’s true my friends, winter is officially here!  (At least if you live in Washington)  Below is a video of our first snow of the season, quite the winter storm, and a recipe for the perfect hot drink to sip while snuggled under a blanket in front of the fireplace.  This apple cider recipe is sweet, buttery and full of my favorite holiday spices.  Whether you have snow outside or not, just one sip is sure to make you feel like you’re in a winter wonderland.


Snow Storm in Washington 2010 from Diana Johnson on Vimeo.

The inspiration for this recipe was my fascination with hot buttered rum. The name has for some reason always called to my tastebuds, although I’d never actually tried it before.  Eric and I don’t drink very often but we do have some rum in the cupboard from my trip to Mexico, so I decided to try out making hot buttered rum myself.  I found a few different recipes and most agreed that the traditional method to make it is to make a batter with cream and butter that is mixed with rum and hot water.

I made the traditional batter and mixed a few TBS with an ounce of rum and 6 ounces of hot water, and it just didn’t work for me.  It tasted like rummy sugar water, not at all what I imagined whenever the words “hot buttered rum” tingled my tastebuds.  I had a whole jar of the batter left and didn’t want it to go to waste, so I decided to try it in hot apple cider.

Oh baby!!! This was one of the best winter drinks I’ve ever had!  Unlike those little foil packets of instant cider that come out syrupy sweet with a faintly chemical aftertaste, this apple cider recipe is sweet and creamy with just the right balance of spice.  Each sip leads to to reflexive sighs of satisfaction and somehow you really do get visions of sugar plums dancing in your head, even if you don’t actually know what sugarplums look like!

Eric and I do advent each night in December leading up to Christmas. The nightly advent wreath was a tradition my parents did with us since I was born. I always say that I like tradition as long as it suits my purposes, and this is one tradition I plan to keep. Eric and I have been using a children’s book series as part of our advent tradition and look forward to it all year. In previous years we have had eggnog at advent time, but this year hot buttered cider has edged it out as our holiday favorite.

While this cider is alcohol free and kid friendly, you can also serve it with an ounce of rum as a Christmas cocktail for adults. Just be careful and measure it out, it’s so good you can easily drink more than you realize.

As for the snow, Cappucino wasn’t very excited about it, he went out only once and went straight from the front door to the back door (watch the video, it’s cute!).  But I bundled him up in my scarf once he came in to keep him warm.  Then we got a call about an elderly woman who had a broken heater and was out of wood for her wood burning stove.  It just so happened that we had about 20 pieces of wood left from our camping trip so we loaded it into the wagon and took to the snowy streets (that’s the final shot in the video).

On the way we saw this genius snowboarding behind a car.  I tried to get a couple shots off as we drove by, also trying not to imagine his body shooting under the car and getting run over.  I have a vivid imagination.  When we arrived at the woman’s home this little kitten was standing watch from the window.

We set aside the day after Thanksgiving to decorate for Christmas (like my family did as well), but ended up spending a lot of it with my Grandpa instead.  We still managed to get lights outside and decorate our tree.  Eric was my hero putting every little gutter clip up at every light.

So we’ve got advent and decorating the day after Thanksgiving.  What Christmas traditions have you kept from your childhood?

Hot Buttered Cider Batter

makes 4-6 servings


1/2 cup half and half
3 TBS melted butter
1/4 brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1 TBS vanilla extract


Mix all ingredients by shaking in a tightly sealed jar.  Pour about 2 TBS into a mug and fill with hot apple cider.  (Optional: Add 1 oz of rum and garnish with a cinnamon stick)

Approximate cost/serving: The batter is pretty cheap to make if you get your spices in bulk, I buy mine at Fred Meyers.    I also get vanilla extract in a LARGE bottle from Sam’s Club and get butter there as well.  It came out to just 25 cents a batch.  I get a gallon of cider for $4 at Sam’s Club so with cider it’s about 45 cents a serving.

Vegetarian/Gluten Free: There are dairy products but no meat and no gluten.

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Nutritional and cost information is for estimating purposes only, and subject to variations due to region, seasonality, and product availability.

3 thoughts on “Hot Buttered Cider – Holiday Drink Recipe”

  1. I adore hot cider in all its many forms, and I will definitely be trying this!

    Also, the video is fantastic. Snowless me in California loved the peek into life in the Pacific Northwest.


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