You should all know me well enough by now that I don’t need to explain why I spent a few days creating a recipe for a hot buttered rum Jello shot. In posts past I’ve cemented my love for jiggly alcohol, so instead we can move on to the good stuff.
Hot buttered rum always makes me think of my life-long best friend Nikki Sea. Growing up, her family would make a big batch every December to serve at their annual Christmas boat parade party. There was always some left over which, post-party, would find itself in a most unorthodox place — as part of a peanut butter sandwich.
I should mention, lest you think poorly of us, that the sandwiches were booze free. It was simply the base for the hot buttered rum, made from blending melted vanilla ice cream with sugar, vanilla and butter. Trust me, peanut butter and jelly didn’t stand a chance, that sandwich was like crack.
Being best friends I was always offered a bite or two of her sandwich every day during the following weeks. Along with the taste of the salt and vinegar chips that she would always pack, that memory has stuck with me for more than twenty years.
I’ve always thought it was a one-sided recollection. After all, hot buttered rum was a family tradition for her. I was just the friend, intrigued by something totally unfamiliar and (seemingly) illicit.
But, funny enough, this Christmas I got a text from her saying that she was drinking hot buttered rum with her family and that it always makes her think of me.
In return I told her I was in the process of recipe testing a hot buttered rum Jello shot, my way to honor that little tradition amongst friends.
It took a few tries but I think I finally nailed it. These little guys are buttery but have enough spice notes to be festive and seasonal. The base is made from cream soda which makes them sweet but not cloying and adds a nice vanilla-y flavor as well. I think they taste just like the real thing — though, as you can imagine, this hot buttered rum is best served chilled. They do warm you up though — that booze packs a punch!
Hot Buttered Rum Jello Shots
Makes 12 2-ounce portions
- 1 1/4 Cups Cream Soda
- 1/2 Cup Water
- 1 Pinch Mulling spices (cinnamon, clove, allspice)
- 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
- 1 Pinch Ground cinnamon
- 1/2 TSP Vanilla extract
- 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
- 1/4 Cup White rum
- 1/4 Cup Vanilla rum or vodka
- 1/4 Cup Butterscotch Schnapps
- Kosher salt (to taste — this shot needs the salt to make the spices pop)
- 1/2 TSP Butter extract (optional)
- 1/4 Cup Heavy Cream (optional)
In a small sauce pot, combine the cream soda, water and mulling spices. Bring to a simmer then take off heat and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain spices and chill liquid. This can be done in advance. If you don’t have mulling spices use a cinnamon stick, some cloves, allspice and some nutmeg.
Once the mixture is cold, sprinkle gelatin over the liquid and allow to bloom for several minutes. Then turn heat to low, adding in the brown sugar, vanilla extract and ground cinnamon. Cook just until gelatin and sugar have dissolved.
Pour into large bowl, add booze and butter extract if using. I know, I know. Butter extract? Yes, I actually bought it for this recipe and yes, it does add extra buttery goodness, but feel free to omit it if you like.
Now here you can go several ways:
You can omit the cream entirely and you will end up with a clear golden-hued shot. It’s very pretty and tastes great, but when we did a taste test it came out below the other two options.
The second possibility is to add all of the cream and have an opaque, very creamy and luscious shot. These were definitely popular and some of my friends voted them the best.
My personal favorite though was the double-layered shot. Start by taking your vessels of choice and filling them with half the mixture (sans cream). Allow to chill for an hour or so. Keep rest of mixture at room temperature. After the jello has set enough to feel firm on top, add the cream to the bowl, whisk well and then fill all of the shots equally.
Allow to set for at least 4 hours or overnight.