Rumtopf literally means “rum pot“. It is one of the countless typical beverages that we have discovered in the Dolomites, Northern Italy. It is basically a method to soak diced fruit for at least two months in rum and sugar, which act as a preservative.

The aim is to store seasonal fruit from June to October, to enjoy it in cold Winter evenings.

Specifically, this Rumtopf recipe dates back to the Northern Italian tradition of typical beverages: at Christmas Eve, at the end of the supper, the youngest member sitting at the table will be tasked with stirring and serving this dessert to the dining companions.

For this recipe, we won’t be following the usual framework of all the other recipes you can find in this blog, but we’ll provide you with guidelines on which fruit you should use, the rum and sugar doses and the preservation method. Let’s see how to prepare the Rumtopf, an alcoholic dessert which requires a lot of patience, but it is definitely worth the wait!

Prep: around 6 months

Ceramic or glass jar


  • Rum
  • Sugar
  • Seasonal fruit: cherries, apricots, plums, peaches, melons, berries, grapes
Foto dall'alto di una composizione di frutta mista con uva, pesche, ciliegie e mirtilli, su una tavoletta di legno con caffè, due macchine fotografiche, una caraffa di vino e un ramoscello, su una tovaglia fiorita. Crediti: Pexels

Seasonal fruit: super-tasty ingredients for the Rumtopf

Photo by Esranur Kalay on Pexels

In order to prepare the Rumtopf, one of the sweetest among the typical beverages of the Northern Italian tradition, it is best to preserve the fruit and rum in its original ceramic jar with its top, but a glass jar will do fine. The most important thing is to cover the jar and leave it in a dark environment for the whole prep time.

Sugar must be added taking the amount of fruit into account, that is 1/2 or 1/4, the former to make it sweeter.

Use all kinds of fruits you can pick from June to October, except fermenting fruit.

Rum 70/80% vol. is not so easy to find in supermarkets: opt for a well-stocked winehouse.

Let’s start in June with cherries: add around 1 pound of cherries with their stone, and then add 0.3 pounds of sugar and rum to cover.

It’s now time for apricots, plums, peaches (even better, nectarines) and melons.
Add around 0.5 pounds of each fruit when the time is right, along with rum and sugar. All the ingredients must be added in layers: do not stir the mixture, just add and cover with rum as necessary. Fruit must always be ripe and solid.

Let’s move on with berries: blackberries, raspberries, currants, blueberries, gooseberry) and add sugar based on weight.

October is the final stage with grapes: add around 0.5 pounds of white grape and another 0.5 pounds of black grape.

The Rumtopf must be kept covered and in a dark environment until Christmas Eve, when it’s ready.

You might have noticed that fruits like strawberries, figs and watermelons are not mentioned: this is because they ferment and will spoil your recipe.

Besides Italian typical beverages, have you ever tried the buckwheat spätzle? Find the recipe in this post of our blog!

Main photo credits: 2015 William F. Hertha