A Sweet, Comfortingly Tasty Local Holiday Tradition

It’s been a whirlwind of activity in the past week, and I apologize for neglecting my blog readers. I’ve mostly been eating down all that turkey from Thanksgiving weekend (I even made up a new recipe) and starting some holiday preparations.

Harvey\'s Butter Rum BatterThis weekend we celebrated finding our new Christmas tree with good friends and good, hot cups of holiday goodness. On Saturday, we got pretty toasty with cups of a local favorite, Harvey’s Butter Rum Batter in a steaming cup of water and (maybe a little too much) rum.

For folks not familiar with the batter, it’s a sugary, buttery comfort drink base (you have to add the rum yourself) made in a small factory on National Avenue in Bremerton. Harvey Hudson moved to Bremerton in 1942, and 10 years later made the batter during a stint as a bartender, produced it more widely and the rest is history.

Harvey is now 92 years old, and still goes in to work at the factory in the mornings. And “work” is not just some kind of ambling around supervising kind of thing.

“He get involved, packages and everything,” said Mike Hudson, who’s one of his sons working a the business.

The Sun has written a few stories about him over the years.

The recipe is still mostly the same as it was when created a half-century ago, the only real change to their previously all-natural recipe that they’ve had to make was to replace the real eggs with a substitute to prevent food-borne illness, Mike said.

I asked for the secret to butter rum batter, and here’s how Mike answered:

“It’s worldwide known what the secret is,” he said, then paused.

“It’s Dad,” he said. “His sweetness is what keeps us going.”

So, if you want it, you just have to do and get it. Most grocery stores in Bremerton sell it, and outside of Bremerton, Albertsons, Safeway and Red Apple stores (and I think I’ve seen it at Central Market).

Though Mike didn’t hand out the secret recipe, he did give me permission to share some of the dozens of recipe suggestions that they’ve posted on their web site. The batter itself is non-alcoholic and can be added to a variety of things. Mike could talk for seven minutes straight with ideas on how to use the batter, from cooking pumpkin pie until the top cracks and drizzling the batter on top to a milkshake like they serve at the Crazy Eric’s next door to a grandkid favorite: warm milk with a teaspoon of batter and a candy cane for a stir stick.

There are also plenty of food uses as well. Here’s one I’ve tried with success during a cookie-baking extravaganza:


1/2 carton HARVEY’S Rum Batter
1 cup nuts
2-1/2 oz. rum
1 cup coconut
1 cup oatmeal, or crushed vanilla wafers or graham crackers

Mix all of the above ingredients together and make into small balls. Roll in powdered sugar or dip in melted chocolate or butterscotch. Keep refrigerated.

You can find more recipes on their web site