Advent Calendar, Day 1: Rumtopf – A Guaranteed Good Time

I don't want to scare anyone, but this weekend the calendar clicked over to December 1. Don't worry. The Library has a solution. Every day from now until Christmas, I'm going to bring you a selection of great tips, tricks and alcoholic hits to keep you jolly through the festive season. Kind of like an Advent Calendar of Inspiration. These have all been sent into The Library this past year from generous readers, and I've been saving them up for a special occasion. 

Seeing as I missed Day One and Day Two, here's a whopper Advent offering to kick us all off in style. Rumtopf. Haven't heard of this? Oh baby, you are in for A GOOD TIME with this! Hand it out to the family. It will ease the Christmas tensions in no time. And if anyone's still standing on Christmas night, I'll be impressed.

{Recipe courtesy of my dear friends Gilli and Kendall Carter. Oh – and apparently you need to make this 6 weeks out from Christmas, but don't worry. Just toss some more rum in to give it a kick: it will be fine.) {Glass image via a great site for delicious drink recipes. Rum from Mauritius. All fruit images by me}


1. Fresh fruit (approximately half a kilo or 1 pound). See below for suggested fruits.
2. Sugar (approximately 200g or 1/2 pound).
3. Good quality (unflavored) dark rum to cover the fruit by 1 inch.

Strawberries (don't wash, just remove stem & leaves) 
Raspberries (don't wash)
Pears (cored, peeled & sliced)
Pineapple (remove rind & core and cut in large cubes)
Cherries (any variety, stemmed and pitted)
Nectarines (halves, pitted)
Peaches (remove pits and cut in halves, quarters, or slices)
Plums (remove seed and half or quarter)
Grapes (sweet seedless red or green grapes)
Red currants (removed from stem)
Gooseberries (remove stems)

Apple; blackberries or blueberries; watermelon and cantaloupe; rhubarb; bananas and citrus fruits (oranges and lemons)


Wash and dry the inside of the Rumtopf. A great suggestion is to use a chinoiserie ginger jar, which you can plonk straight onto the Christmas table.
Wash and dry the first chosen fruit. Remove any stems, seed and pits.
Place all the fruit and 200g or a half pound of sugar into the Rumtopf.
Pour in enough rum to cover the fruit by at least one inch.
Cover the opening of the Rumtopf with tightly with plastic (to avoid evaporation) and place the lid firmly on top.

Store in a cool place away from heat and direct sunlight.
You may even store the Rumtopf in the refrigerator.

Every week add an additional layer of fruit and more rum, following the instructions above, until your Rumtopf is full. Test for flavour. (You may need to test it a lot.)
Check periodically to make sure their is no extra fermentation taking place.  If you see bubbles beginning to develop, you have fermentation.  If this happens, add rum that is 151 proof to suppress the fermentation. Yes, you heard right, 151 proof. Just toss that juice in baby.

Serve the Rumtopf syrup (hot or cold) over ice-cream, cake, flan, puddings, or cheese cake. 
Serve the strained liquid as a liquor or after-dinner cordial.
Add two tablespoons of the strained liquid to Champagne for a fantastically toxic cocktail.
Lay some of the warmed fruit onto crepes on Boxing Day. Add a heap of whipped cream or ice cream, if desired. 

And here's some good ol' retro 1980s music to stir all that good ol' rum to – Cee Lo Green's version of Daryl Hall's I Can 't Go For That, recorded live at Daryl's house. Link here

And if you like that, then you'll love this – link. It'll make you dance in the kitchen!

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