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Rumtopf With Mad River Distillers Rums

Rumtopf, which translates in english to rum pot, is a traditional German, Austrian, and Danish way of preserving fruit throughout the year. Using a large earthenware pot, the idea is to layer the first fruits of each growing season in the pot, typically starting with strawberries in the spring and ending with apples in the fall. It’s a simple process. You collect the fruits you like from each season, then layer them in the pot. Next, you add sugar and top with rum until the fruit is fully submerged. Between each layer of fruit, you will need to add more sugar and rum, ensuring the fruit is always fully covered in alcohol so that the fruit is preserved.

Mixed berries in a Rumtopf pot

Though you’ll add the last fresh, seasonal fruits to the pot in the fall, you allow the fruit to sit in the rum until December. Rumtopf is traditionally enjoyed beginning on the winter solstice, and throughout the holiday season. The preserved (alcoholic) fruit compote is delicious on top of cakes, custards or ice cream, or even eaten while sipping the rum from the pot. The rum from the pot can also be enjoyed by itself. It’s a great treat to share with loved ones, or even to offer as a gift.

We were fortunate enough to try some Rumtopf of our own this year as Gragen Cook, one of our bartenders and sales reps, shared his extended infusion at our Burlington Tasting Room starting on December 21st. He’s been making Rumptopf using locally sourced seasonal fruits for the past few years, and this most recent batch was made using Mad River Distillers First Run Rum and Maple Cask Rum.

An earthenware Rumtopf pot on a counter

To make your own Rumtopf, be sure to secure an earthenware pot like the one shown here before spring. Then as each season bears fresh fruit, collect the amount of fruit you desire. Clean and cut the fruit, then add them to the pot. Fruits like strawberries, peaches, blackberries, raspberries, cherries, plums, pears, apples and pineapples, can all be great additions. Add as much sugar as you like to balance the flavor of the rum, keeping in mind that more sugar means a sweeter compote.

Be sure to cover the fruit entirely in rum, and keep the pot secured away from kids. Even though the compote will be sweet, the fruit retains alcohol, so it is only intended for adults. You can store the pot in a cool, dry place (it does not need to be stored in a refrigerator).

A cordial glass with Rumtopf rum next to bottles of Mad River Distillers rums

We enjoyed the added flavors and nuance that the combination of First Run Rum and Maple Cask Rum provided to the finished fruit compote and sipping rum. Not only does the long infusion add incredible flavor and anticipation for the holiday season, but it also offers warm color to what is considered a cool season. Now that this year’s holiday season has concluded, we’ll be keeping our eyes out for the first signs of fruit in the spring, in anticipation for next year’s Rumtopf.

Written and published by Brianne Lucas on December 30 2022.

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