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Mrs Kirkbride’s Cumberland Rum Butter

Mrs Kirkbride’s Cumberland Rum Butter

250g butter (Mrs K swears by Anchor as a good setter)

500g of dark brown sugar

Dark rum to taste


Melt butter, add sugar and stir it in. This takes a lot of patience and arm work but persevere until you have a smooth silky paste with little if any butter round the sides.

Add rum to taste. Can’t really suggest a quantity, just as much as you feel your mix can take. Keep tasting, when just right add a little more :wink: Grate as much nutmeg as you like into the mixture. Pour into your best rum butter bowl, quite often (as in my case) this will be an old porcelain sugar bowl handed down through the family. Place in fridge when cold to set - don’t panic if it looks runny. Usually it will set OK but if it’s still a bit runny at the end it will still taste divine.

This will produce quite a lot so you could just reduce the quantities proportionately. But it does keep well in the fridge as long as you bring it up to room temperature when you want to eat it. Or divide into smaller containers and give some away as gifts.


Wow, @JayKay! Just reading this recipe makes my mouth water!.. It sounds fantastic :ok_hand:
Will definitely give it a go! The biggest challenge will be hiding it from the two hungry and greedy monsters in this house!! :grin::grin:

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Toast as many slices of thick white bread you can eat, spread on the Cumberland butter, and hope you get enough before you make yourself sick…to drink with it, may be some strong Colombian coffee laced with Magno brandy…


Here are my serving suggestions
Particularly good for Christmas to make mince pies taste divine, for serving with BBQd bananas, putting on your porridge or even, as we did as kids, make rum butter sandwiches or butties as we called them! My aunt and uncle spread it on a Jacobs Cream Cracker - the best good use for those dry biscuits in the known universe. Rum butter, a bit like a dessert hummus :rofl::rofl:


Use as an ice cream topping? :ice_cream:
Bought some black treacle ice cream yesterday…might try on that!:yum:


My Father is from Westmorland - which is where Rum Butter truly comes from (goes back to the slave trade and Whitehaven). Your recipe is spot on, the rum was typically dark / navy rum and would settle at the bottom of the bowl. The advice was ‘dig deep’. It can keep for months.

Brandy butter is an aberration.

Christmas pudding certainly, in front of a log fire. And thereafter spread on Christmas cake. Personally I love it on cold Bramley apple pie with cream.

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Yes you are right about the origins of the Whitehaven rum trade and rum butter. Jefferson’s rum is still trading in Whitehaven and has an excellent exhibition called the Rum Story that explains the trade and its shameful origins. Whitehaven is not on Westmoreland though. Cumberland and Westmoreland were merged into Cumbria when a lot of ancient shires disappeared. Cumberland is the coastal county and incorporates most of the Lake District. Westmoreland is the inland county, hence Appleby-in-Westmoreland which changed its name to add the old county name so it wasn’t lost.

I stand corrected, many thanks ! - my father must have been from Cumberland then, because born in Whitehaven.

Cumberland plate-cakes go well with Cumberland butter - I remember this as a thin desert pie made with short pasty, cooked in a shallow tin plate. Filling depended on the season: a mixture of apple and mince… or autumn fruits… or gooseberry. Better cold - with rum butter and cream.

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Dredging back into my ‘academic’ memory, I recall that Westmorland is literally the West Moor Land, referring to the land west of Yorkshire. This was how it was named in the 13th(?) Century when it became an administrative area.


I should have mentioned that ‘Cumberland’ has the same linguistic root as Cambria (Cymru).

Nuff teechin’


Ooh thanks I’ll look that up.

It’s getting to that time for the making of this yummy butter.
I was going to adapt half the mixture with some finely chopped ginger and it’s syrup with a bit of lime too - a Dark and Stormy Rum butter.


Cambria - that’s Cockney for Cumbria, right…?


Well it’s made and in the fridge now …;)! Another item for the Christmas hamper ! I did add a dash of spiced rum too just to liven it up :rofl:! Thanks @JayKay :christmas_tree:.


So the rum butter is made. Ran out of our usual Lamb’s Navy about half way through the addition of rum so in a nod to Antipodean relationships in the family I added an Aussie rum. It has given a good depth of flavour to the brew :yum:

The white porcelain bowl with the pattern round the rim is my late grandmother’s sugar bowl #keepingitinthefamily.