Rum Butter

You have probably heard of brandy butter. A delicious indulgence that many people in Britain enjoy during the Christmas period. For our cousins over the pond, you will know it as hard sauce.

But, have you heard of rum butter?

It is very similar to brandy butter, but rum is used instead.

And, did you know that rum butter is a traditional Cumbrian delicacy?

As early as the 18th Century, Cumbrians have been enjoying rum butter with their desserts. However, there is mystery and intrigue about its origins and why Cumbria chose to use rum rather than brandy.

Rum Butter

The Legend of Rum Butter

We know that rum was imported from the West Indies into the ports of Whitehaven, Workington and Maryport. Rum very soon became an important ingredient in the West Cumbrian diet.

What we are not sure of is who decided to mix rum, butter and sugar together to make this mouth-watering luxury we all enjoy now.

When you talk to locals, you will hear legends of drunken sailors tripping and falling into barrels of rum. These fallen barrels leaked into butter churns and rum butter was allegedly invented.

This is a good story, but it isn’t our favourite.

Our favourite tale involves smugglers being caught unloading their stash on a local beach. You can imagine the bleakness of it. The waves crashing. The wind blowing and the sound of cries as local custom officers begin to get closer. Panicking, the smugglers fled and found a cave to hide in. What they didn’t anticipate was the tide which came in and cut them off from the mainland. Whilst trapped in the cave, they were forced to eat their ‘treasure’ of rum, butter and sugar. Thus rum butter was created.

Brandy Butter
Brandy Butter

How do I Enjoy Brandy or Rum Butter?

Rum and brandy butter are both synonymous with Christmas. Slather generous helpings on mince pies and Christmas pudding. Delicious.

It can be frozen, and some people like to use Christmas shaped moulds to freeze the butter in to add a little extra festive fun to their desserts.

The good news is that you don’t have to wait until December to enjoy brandy and rum butter. Try spreading it on your toast – we particularly enjoy it spread on cinnamon toast. It’s fantastic on hot pancakes and a delicious accompaniment to hot apple pie. It really is versatile.

If you do find that you have extra rum or brandy butter leftover this Christmas, you could try this brandy butter cookie recipe we found here ( We think they would make a lovely treat for New Year.

Where can I buy them?

Here at Quiggin’s, we make Cumberland rum and brandy butter. They come in large and small pots and are perfect for Christmas dinner, wherever you are.

We also have traditional gift jars of both brandy and rum butter so you can buy someone special a jar of this tasty treat.

As a family business who has passed the Kendal Mint cake recipe down from generation to generation, we love continuing traditions, and our brandy and rum butter help maintain a proud longstanding tradition of many Cumbrian families.