Hot buttered rum was a drink my uncle Royal made up for the Holidays in Autumn and Winter. He had a small store-bought bucket with the ingredients. He put a tablespoon in a cup of warm water and rum. The smell was cinnamon, butter, and pumpkin spices.
As I watched him make the drinks for the adults. He would give me his cocky smile while making one up for me without the booze. We gave each other a wink, a click of the mouth and a nod… after uncle pulled out his cigar. “Just like James Cagney.” Soon the men would be playing poker.
Years later I lived alone on the east coast in Rochester New York during the same holidays. One evening after work I went into a bar and sat down, I asked for a hot buttered rum. Surely, they had the same bucket of goodness sold at most liquor stores behind the bar. The hostess looked at me like I was a moron, who I most likely am. I saw some talking behind the bar. Then the bartender came out with warm water in a cup, a jig of rum, and a tab of butter. Now I looked at him like the moron.
Before I put the chemistry together three jigs were brought up and turned over before me. Whack, whack whack … the three pints of local beers were welcomed. I learned then the customs of local drunks. The moral of this story is that the Butter Rum Life Savers taste like my Uncle Royal’s Hot Buttered Rum cocktail.
He had a big old ranch style house and farm in Anaheim Orange County. Not two miles from Knots Berry Farm. When the big deal was jam. fried chicken and mining for gold. Pomegranates, oranges, and avocado trees once strummed his house for a few miles. It is now a house landmark. His sons had the house and land protected. It is most likely a stranded place surrounded by fast food joints, apartments and who knows what. I should go see the old farm again someday!
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