There was a blanket of misty rain covering the city last week. It’s the kind that leaves behind soft sprinklings of fairy dust water on trees and rooftops and the coats of brown furry dogs. The kind that can only be found in the Pacific Northwest. I like to call it fake rain. If you can start a fire in it, as I did, then it’s not real rain.
I’m not talking about a raging bonfire, by the way. I feel like if you’re going to light a fire that’s the size of a car, you could probably find a way to do it in sun, snow, sleet, or, yes, even fake rain. I’m talking about a crackling campfire here. The kind that’s surrounded by a small ring of convenient rocks. The kind that’s usually not too far from fluffy marshmallows that turn from white to gold like a chameleon when licked by flickering amber flames. Unless you get them too close to the coals in which case they turn nighttime black. Remind me one day to tell you a story about black-as-night charred marshmallows. Today is not that day.
Today there are oozing amber marshmallows. The perfectly roasted ones that wear a sheath of their own making, a sheath that’ll slip right off like a snake shedding its outer layer if you give it a gentle tug. Or that top off warm wintry drinks filled with cinnamon spice-flecked butter, dark Carribean rum with notes of molasses and caramel, and steam effusing water that’s been heated right over the campfire. The campfire that is still burning despite the rain.
Now I don’t know about you, but no matter where I am when I drink hot buttered rum – in the elements or under a roof, with mallows or without – I find my mind venturing over to the Great Hall of Hogwarts. It’s a childhood fantasy I’ll never let go of. I’m there. I’ve got some kind of robes on. I’m sipping on butterbeer with snow falling softly through transparent ceilings and a thousand warm flickering candles hovering over long wooden tables. With jingle belled music in the background, red flannel all around, and the tallest of Christmas trees towering over it all.
Christmas is still several weeks away, of course, but that won’t stop me from indulging in hot buttered rum under the soft pitter-pat of Oregon rain. With a crackling campfire at my feet and Bourré casting angry scowls upwards from the ground. Because he loves his mom enough to never leave her side, but he hates the rain, even the fake kind, like I hate black-charred marshmallows. I really will tell you the story about the flaming mallow that ruined my high school graduation photos one day. I promise, I will.
- 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon of light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg
- 2 pinches of ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon of kosher salt
- 6 ounces of dark rum (1.5 per)
- 16 ounces of water (4 per)
- Toasted marshmallows, for topping (optional)
- Cream the butter, maple syrup, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt together in a bowl. Seal in a Tupperware container or a bowl covered with tight-fitting plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator or in your camp cooler.
- Bring water to a boil. Meanwhile, spoon 1 tablespoon of cinnamon butter into each hot beverage glass or mug. Add 1.5 ounces of dark rum to each glass. When water comes to a boil, pour 4 ounces into each glass, stirring briefly to combine. Top with toasted marshmallows, if desired.