Posted by: Matt Browner Hamlin | December 11, 2009

Holiday Cocktails

I’m not much of an egg nog fan, but as it gets cold and the holidays approach quickly, I do recommend a hot buttered rum or a scottish brose.

Here is Rum Dood’s hot buttered rum recipe. Because after all, if you’re going to serve a rum cocktail, the Dood abides:

Hot Buttered Rum

2 oz Rum
3 tsp Sugar
.5 tsp Allspice
.5 tsp Cloves
1 tbsp Butter
Hot Water

Warm a mug or glass, and then add sugar and about 1.5 oz of hot water to the mug.  Stir sugar and water until sugar is well-dissolved.  Add rum and spices and then fill top the mug with hot water.  Add butter and stir until butter is completely melted.  Garnish with a cinnamon stick and/or orange peel, depending on the flavor you’re looking for.

I like this recipe because it’s both very simple and it incorporates some extra spice that goes beyond the 19th century hot rum drinks that it closely resembles.

But the cocktail that is really piquing my interest lately is a Scottish Atholl Brose. I only first had it a week ago at the Repeal Day Ball, but it knocked my socks off. I’ve been trying to find a good recipe that makes sense and this is something that I think is sensible and manageable. Some recipes I saw only called for letting the oats mascerate for 30 minutes, while  others called for including raw egg white in the first step and letting it sit for a week before serving. I wasn’t sure that either of these steps were sensible. This entry, from WikiHow, seems to split the difference:

Atholl Brose

2 and 1/3 cups Scotch Whisky (560 mL)
1/2 cup steel-cut oatmeal (or other medium-coarse) (90 g)
2/3 c cream (140 mL)
1/4 c honey (90 g or about 60 mL)

  1. Combine the oatmeal and whisky in a shallow container. Cover with linen and leave in a cool place for at least 48 hours.
  2. Remove clear liquids from this mixture, using linen to squeeze last drop of whisky out of oatmeal solids.
  3. Transfer whisky to a container with a wide enough neck to stir.
  4. Very slowly pour the cream into the whisky, stirring with a wooden spoon.
  5. Add the honey even more slowly, stirring continually and evenly.
  6. Put the finished Brose in a storage bottle, if not already.
  7. Serve when ready.

I found that the honey is supposed to be stirred with a silver spoon, not a wooden one, so keep some silver close to hand. I also like the fact that this recipe requires advanced preparation and a strong measure of patience. Both of these characteristics should lead to more flavor, or at least a longer waiting period for the drink to be ready.




  1. I get why the linen to wring it out. But is there something essential about the linen covering it while it soaks?

    • If something is sitting uncovered for a week, it is likely to have things fall into it or creatures try to eat it. This way the mixture will be free of other stuff. At least that’s how I’m reading it.

      • As long as there’s nothing crucial about the covering being linen — I didn’t have any when I started soaking it, so I used a little towel.

  2. try my favorite holiday drink The Naughty Elf. It has TYKU liqueur, Canton, white cranberry juice, and a swueeze of lime!!! The perfect light drink for the holidays!!!!

  3. […] recently made the Atholl Brose recipe Matt Browner Hamlin provides here; it’s too late to make it for Christmas, but it’s a terrific holiday […]

  4. This recipe looks a little complicated, but it’s not too bad. We tried it for Christmas Eve and my family loved it. Thanks for the suggestion.

  5. […] times in the last six months. First was his Atholl Brose at the 2nd Annual Repeal Day Ball, which inspired me to make my own. This classic Scottish combination of scotch, oats, honey and cream is like a DIY […]

  6. […] you’re not a fan of the eggs in Egg Nog, a great holiday alternative is Atholl Brose. This centuries-old Scottish cocktail is made with scotch, oats, cream and honey. It’s a […]

  7. You know, you had me on your side with your first cmoment, but now…. you know, some of us can’t afford the good stuff. That’s just life.

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