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Photos by Stuart Mullenberg

DIY Spiced Rum

It’s one of our favorite holiday traditions—gifting homemade treats to family and friends—but between the hustle and the bustle of the season, time often runs short. Luckily, we have a few gifty favorites that can be whipped up in a flash (everything from frothy eggnog to cocoa-ready marshmallows to candied orange peel—head to for the recipes), and this year we’re adding a batch of spiced rum to the mix. With the help of Paul McGee from Three Dots and a Dash in Chicago and David Hridel of Spice Kitchen and Bar in Cleveland, we developed a quick-infusion formula that combines aged rum with fresh citrus and a bouquet of seasonal spices for a spirit that’ll wrap you and your friends in a boozy blanket of wintry warmth.


1 750-ml. bottle of aged rum
1 whole nutmeg
1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 whole cloves
1 cardamom pod
4 black peppercorns
1 star anise
3 allspice berries
1 large navel orange



Mallet or hammer
Lewis bag or clean kitchen towel
Heavy-bottomed sauté pan
Spice grinder (you can also use a blade coffee grinder, just remove coffee oils first by pulsing around a torn slice of bread and then carefully wiping clean)
Quart-sized canning jar, or other large glass jar with lid
4 200-ml. glass bottles with lids ( is a great resource)


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Step 1
Place the whole nutmeg in a Lewis bag or wrap loosely in a clean kitchen towel and give one firm whack with a mallet or hammer.

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Step 2

In a heavy-bottomed sauté pan, combine all spices and lightly toast them over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.


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Step 3

Transfer the spices to a blade grinder and pulse around three to four times.


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Step 4

Using a peeler, zest the orange, taking care to avoid any white pith. Set aside.


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Step 5

In a 1-quart glass jar combine the rum with the toasted spices and orange peel. Secure the lid, shake to combine and let it sit undisturbed for 24 hours.


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Step 6

Using a funnel lined with a double layer of cheesecloth, strain the spiced rum into clean glass jars.