Sarah Nelson’s Rum Butter

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THE exact origins of Rum Butter are shrouded in mystery. No-one knows who invented this true Cumbrian delicacy but it first appeared in local larders in the late 18th century.

Brought into the ports of Whitehaven, Workington and Maryport by merchant ships from the West Indies, rum quickly became an integral ingredient of the West Cumbrian diet.

Romantic legends about how Rum Butter came about abound: one tale describes how a drunken sailor, staggering on board ship, crashed into a barrel of rum which leaked into a butter churn, flavouring its golden contents.

Another story is even more incredible! One misty morning pirates unloaded an illicit horde of rum, butter and sugar onto the West Cumbrian shore. When spotted by customs officers they fled into a cave – later cut off by the tide – and survived on a sweet paste of rum, butter and sugar.

Some Lakeland families still own their own Rum Butter bowls and there is a fascinating collection of Rum Butter dishes, plates and bowls dating from the mid-19th century in the Beacon at Whitehaven Harbour.

Today, Cumbria’s romantic love affair with Rum Butter continues at the Grasmere Gingerbread Shop where it is made fresh every day. It is delicious on toast, oatcakes, crackers, scones and bread, as an accompaniment to mince pies and Christmas pudding, or warmed on ice cream, popcorn or even on Sarah Nelson’s Grasmere Gingerbread!

Sarah Nelson’s Rum Butter keeps for up to six months and is best kept in a cool pantry or larder but not a refrigerator otherwise the sugar will crystallise.

Our Rum Butter is available mail order – why not try some today! BUY ONLINE.


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