There’s something unmistakable about the aroma of rum, which has always been a popular ingredient for bakers and pastry chefs. The spirit is probably best known as a key ingredient in bananas Foster, where it’s flambéed with bananas and brown sugar to take advantage of the fruit and caramel notes of dark rum. But as many cocktail fans know, rum has an affinity for fresh fruit.

This rum-fortified syrup can turn a fruit salad into the surprise hit of any meal. It’s a lovely treatment for firm tropical fruits just short of ripeness, as the rum coaxes out their full potential. Mango, kiwi and papaya are all good candidates. Chopping the fruit into a small dice may seem fussy, but it allows the flavors to permeate easier and elevates the experience.

Any rum can be used with this recipe. However, a dark rum will develop a richer flavor, while white rum or an unaged agricole will highlight the brightness and acidity in the fruit.

Refrigerated with the syrup, the fruit should last 24–48 hours, depending on its initial ripeness.

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