Cumberland Rum Butter is a sweetened dessert sauce. It is classed as a “hard sauce”, as it is meant to be spooned, rather than poured, onto a dessert.
It is based on butter, flavoured with rum, nutmeg, and Barbados sugar.
Sometimes a raw egg yolk and other spices such as cinnamon, are added; sometimes the spices are dropped altogether.
Literature & Lore
Cumberland Rum Butter was traditionally made to celebrate the birth of a child. It would be served, along with oat cakes, to well-wishers who dropped by to see the baby. The visitors would leave a silver coin behind for the child.
By the time that the day upon which the child was to be christened arrived, the butter bowl would be empty, and the silver coins put in it, then turned upside down. The more coins that stuck, the more prosperous the child would be.
Cumberland Rum Butter was also served at Christmas to go with pudding or mince pies.