Mass-produced fruitcakes are good for only 2 things: paperweights and doorstops. I certainly would never eat one voluntarily. I make my own every year (I’ve got one batch aging and will bake another 4 loaves tomorrow), and age them for 3-4 weeks with brandy (rum or bourbon can also be used). I don’t make a syrup (that makes the cake way too sweet). Straight up booze works just fine.
I use Alton Brown’s recipe found on http://www.foodnetwork.com (search for “It’s a Wonderful Cake”). It’s a very versatile recipe and you can use all manner of dried fruits (no neon colored candied fruit), and I typically add about 4 times the amount of nuts the recipe calls for.
For this next batch, I have macerated the dried fruit in Meyer’s dark rum for about a week, and I’ll be swapping out the white sugar for dark molasses sugar. Oh, I also usually add a couple tablespoons of fresh ginger to the batter (along with the candied ginger).
It so, so, so good with a smear of marscapone (or cream cheese) and cup of black tea or coffee. I give them out to family members as gifts, and they can’t wait to receive them.
If you’re really not interested in making fruit cake, the best commercially produced fruit cakes are Monastery Fruitcakes (go to http://www.mondofruitcake.com for an ever evolving and reviewed list of Monastery Fruitcakes. Beware however, they usually sell pretty fast, and sometimes they can sell out for Christmas pretty early.