Traditional English Cumberland Rum Butter

Total Time
Prep 10 mins
Cook 0 mins

A lightly spiced butter, laced with dark rum - this traditional old recipe originates from the county of Cumberland in the Lake District of Northern England. In Cumberland, rum butter served with oatcakes or buttermilk scones were given to friends who called at the house to see a new baby. In turn they would leave a silver coin, and on the day of the christening, when the butter bowl was empty, the coins were placed in it. A sticky bowl, with plenty of coins sticking to it, meant that the child would never be wanting. The saying goes...... “Butter symbolizes the richness of life, sugar the sweetness of life and rum, the spirit of life.” Cumberland rum butter is traditionally served with Christmas pudding and mince pies; it also makes a wonderful gift for any new parents or to give throughout the festive season.


  1. Put the butter in a warmed bowl and cream it, either with a wooden spoon or an electric beater or handheld mixer.
  2. Tip in the sugar and rum and mix everything together.
  3. Grate in nutmeg to taste, (or mixed spice) and mix again.
  4. Place in a bowl, an earthenware bowl is traditional, then chill until required.
  5. Serve with mince pies, Christmas pudding, sweet tarts and pies, sweet biscuits, oatcakes, scones, crumpets, muffins or on toast.
Most Helpful

I made this today for afternoon tea. Friends came over and we had it on teabread - mmmmm yummy. When I made it I put a portion into a cute jar so that my friends could take some home with them as they had never had it before. When I was a child my Nanna made this every Christmas and would let my sister and I have some on a Carrs Table Water Biscuit as a treat when Mum wasn't looking. I also remember the Christenings of my little sister and the children of my Mums cousins all having Rum Butter as part of the celebrations, this being a West Cumberland tradition.
Must get myself a proper Rum Butter Bowl!
Thanks for the recipie:-)

Pearlesyarn December 30, 2011

I made this and spooned into pretty pots and gave to my neighbours along with mince tarts for Christmas. All have asked for the recipe. I served with hot Welsh cakes - very yummy!

Sri S. January 01, 2010