The infusion of spices in Carnitas' Hot & Buttered makes for a better batter than butter alone.
  • The infusion of spices in Carnitas' Hot & Buttered makes for a better batter than butter alone.
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While winter has been more wet than cold around San Diego these days, Carnitas’ Snack Shack’s Hot and Buttered — a new take on hot buttered rum punch — serves as an effective stay against the recent weather. While the idea is old, the batter comes fresh from the mind of Carnitas’ bar manager Mai Pham.

Mai Pham

Mai Pham

“The traditional recipe for buttered rum is just that — rum and butter and some hot water, which as a recipe is not very tempting,” Pham says. “Then some folks might use a carton of ice cream with the butter and spices, but I wanted to steer away from just pulling ice cream out of a carton. Instead, I wanted to create a sort of crème anglaise base without it being something processed, and then I applied some nostalgic fall and winter ingredients, too.”

The challenge to striking the right balance between coagulating decadence and comprehensive excellence came down to the butter, says Pham.

“I bounced back and forth on the amount of butter I used,” she says. “I was a little heavier on the butter in the first few tries because I wanted it to be buttery like the traditional buttered rum, but as the drink started to get colder, I didn’t want it to be unpleasant; I wanted it to have a latte feel as the drink cooled off.”

The infusion of spices — cinnamon, allspice, and vanilla — makes for a better batter than butter alone.

“The drink is going to be vanilla-and-cinnamon-forward,” she says. “And the locally sourced Malahat spiced rum already has that same flavor in its own profile. It’s also coconutty and warm. Even though many people don’t like to drink spiced rum on its own, Malahat is so smooth, you could.”

Carnitas' Snack Shack — Embarcadero

1004 North Harbor Drive, Downtown San Diego

Carnitas’ Hot and Buttered

  • 2 oz. Malahat spiced rum
  • 2.5 oz. Hot & Buttered batter*
  • 4 oz. hot water
  • Vanilla whipped cream
  • Fill 10-ounce tin mug with rum and batter, top off with hot water, stir and top with whipped cream and grated nutmeg.

*Batter recipe (yields a quart)

  • 1 pound butter
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon nutmeg
  • 1 vanilla bean (or 2 tablespoons vanilla bean extract)
  • Pour all ingredients into a saucepan on a medium-high heat and mix together until smooth.
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