Rum Runner


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Welcome to the vibrant world of the Rum Runner, a cocktail that captures the essence of tropical bliss. This fruity and refreshing drink is a staple for those who enjoy a taste of island life. Let’s dive into the flavors and history that make the Rum Runner a beloved classic.

The Rum Runner is known for its rich blend of rum and fruit flavors. It’s a drink that promises to transport you to sandy beaches and sun-kissed horizons with every sip. Whether you’re a rum aficionado or a cocktail enthusiast, this drink is sure to tantalize your taste buds.

With its colorful appearance and alluring taste, the Rum Runner is perfect for any occasion that calls for a festive spirit. From pool parties to beach barbecues, this cocktail is a crowd-pleaser. Now, let’s explore some key facts about this tropical treasure.

Key Facts About the Rum Runner

  • Alcohol Volume: Approximately 22% ABV (44 proof)
  • Calories: Approximately 230 kcal
  • Glass Type: Hurricane glass or large glass
  • Typical Garnish: Orange slice and cherry

Interesting Facts about the Rum Runner

The Rum Runner was named after the bootleggers who smuggled rum into the U.S. during Prohibition. Its creation is credited to the Holiday Isle Tiki Bar in the 1950s, where it was concocted to use up excess stock. The cocktail’s popularity has endured, making it a timeless favorite.

Rum Runner Cocktail

Tasting Notes

The Rum Runner is a symphony of sweet and tangy flavors, with notes of blackberry and banana adding complexity to the rum’s warmth. The citrus juices provide a refreshing acidity, while grenadine offers a hint of vanilla and a rich color.

This cocktail is ideal for those who enjoy fruity drinks without an overpowering sweetness. It’s a versatile choice, suitable for summer gatherings, tropical-themed events, or as a relaxing evening treat. The Rum Runner’s appeal lies in its balance of flavors and its festive presentation.

History of the Rum Runner

The origins of the Rum Runner trace back to the laid-back Florida Keys in the 1950s. It was during this era that the cocktail was born out of necessity and creativity. The Holiday Isle Tiki Bar, faced with surplus inventory, decided to mix various ingredients together, resulting in the Rum Runner.

The drink quickly gained popularity among locals and tourists alike, becoming a symbol of the carefree island lifestyle. Its name pays homage to the daring smugglers of the Prohibition era, who risked everything to bring rum to America’s shores.

Over the years, the Rum Runner has evolved, with many variations emerging. However, the original recipe remains a testament to the ingenuity of its creators and continues to be a favorite among cocktail lovers.

Rum Runner Ingredients

  • Light Rum (1 oz / 30 ml): Provides a smooth base with subtle sweetness.
  • Dark Rum (1 oz / 30 ml): Adds depth with its rich, caramel notes.
  • Blackberry Liqueur (1/2 oz / 15 ml): Offers a fruity and slightly tart flavor.
  • Banana Liqueur (1/2 oz / 15 ml): Contributes a tropical sweetness.
  • Orange Juice (1 oz / 30 ml): Brings a fresh citrus zing.
  • Pineapple Juice (1 oz / 30 ml): Adds a sweet, tropical tang.
  • Lime Juice (1/2 oz / 15 ml): Provides a sharp, refreshing acidity.
  • Grenadine (Splash): Gives a touch of sweetness and a vibrant hue.
  • Crushed Ice: Chills and dilutes the drink to perfection.

Did you know?

The Rum Runner’s blend of light and dark rums is a nod to the cocktail’s Prohibition-era namesake, symbolizing the variety of rums that were smuggled into the U.S.

Ingredients for Rum Runner

Rum Runner Method

To create the perfect Rum Runner, start by combining the light and dark rums with the blackberry and banana liqueurs in a blender. Next, add the orange, pineapple, and lime juices, along with a splash of grenadine for sweetness and color.

Add a generous cup of crushed ice to the mixture. Blend until smooth, ensuring the ice is fully incorporated for a slushy consistency. This step is crucial for achieving the cocktail’s signature texture.

Once blended, pour the mixture into a hurricane glass, filling it to the brim. The choice of glass is important, as it enhances the drink’s tropical aesthetic and allows for ample garnish.

Serving Suggestion

The Rum Runner is traditionally served in a hurricane glass, which showcases its vibrant color and allows for a generous serving. The curved shape of the glass also enhances the aromas, making each sip a sensory delight.

Garnish is key to the presentation of the Rum Runner. An orange slice and a cherry are classic choices that add a pop of color and a hint of additional flavor. To prepare the garnish, slice a fresh orange and skewer a cherry, placing them on the rim of the glass.

Elevating the Rum Runner

  • Use Fresh Ingredients: Opt for fresh-squeezed juices and high-quality liqueurs to enhance the cocktail’s flavor profile.
  • Experiment with Rums: Try different combinations of light and dark rums to find the perfect balance for your palate.
  • Adjust Sweetness: Tailor the amount of grenadine to your taste, adding more for a sweeter drink or less for a tangier experience.

For an extra touch of sophistication, consider rimming the glass with sugar or garnishing with an edible flower. These small details can elevate the Rum Runner from a simple mixed drink to a work of art.

Rum Runner Cocktail Preparation

Substitutions and Alternatives for the Rum Runner

If you’re missing an ingredient or prefer a different flavor profile, consider these substitutions:

  • Replace blackberry liqueur with crème de cassis for a similar berry flavor.
  • Use banana syrup instead of banana liqueur for a non-alcoholic option.
  • Substitute grenadine with raspberry syrup for a different twist.

Similar cocktails that share the Rum Runner’s tropical character include the Mai Tai, the Hurricane, and the Bahama Mama. Each offers a unique take on the combination of rum and fruit flavors.

Add a twist

As an expert mixologist, consider these creative spins on the classic Rum Runner:

  • Spiced Rum: Incorporate spiced rum for a warm, aromatic dimension.
  • Herbal Liqueurs: Add a splash of herbal liqueur, such as Chartreuse, for a complex flavor twist.
  • Coconut Cream: Blend in coconut cream for a creamy, piña colada-like variation.

These twists can introduce new flavors and textures, making the Rum Runner even more versatile and exciting.

Preferred Liquors for the Rum Runner

For the best Rum Runner experience, consider these recommended liquors:

  • Bacardi Superior: A light rum that’s clean and crisp, perfect for the base.
  • Myers’s Original Dark: A dark rum with a full-bodied flavor that adds richness.
  • Chambord: A high-quality blackberry liqueur that provides a luxurious berry note.

These brands are known for their quality and will contribute to a superior tasting cocktail.

Similar Cocktails to the Rum Runner

If you enjoy the Rum Runner, you might also like:

  • Mai Tai: Another rum-based cocktail with a tropical flair, featuring almond syrup and triple sec.
  • Zombie: A potent mix of rums and fruit juices, topped with a float of overproof rum.
  • Blue Hawaiian: A visually striking cocktail with a sweet coconut and pineapple profile, colored with blue curaçao.

These cocktails share the Rum Runner’s spirit of tropical indulgence and are perfect for expanding your cocktail repertoire.

Food Pairings to go with the Rum Runner

The Rum Runner pairs well with a variety of foods, especially those with a tropical or seaside theme. Consider these pairings:

  • Grilled Shrimp: The smokiness of grilled shrimp complements the sweet and fruity flavors of the cocktail.
  • Fruit Skewers: Fresh fruit skewers echo the cocktail’s fruity notes and provide a refreshing contrast.

For a more adventurous pairing, try spicy jerk chicken to balance the Rum Runner’s sweetness with some heat.

Rum Runner FAQs

  1. Can I make a Rum Runner without a blender? Yes, you can shake the ingredients with ice and strain into a glass for a different texture.
  2. What can I use if I don’t have blackberry liqueur? Crème de cassis or raspberry syrup can be suitable substitutes.
  3. Is the Rum Runner a strong cocktail? With an alcohol volume of approximately 22% ABV, it’s moderately strong.
  4. Can I make a non-alcoholic version? Yes, replace the rums and liqueurs with fruit syrups and juices for a mocktail version.
  5. What’s the best way to garnish a Rum Runner? An orange slice and a cherry are traditional, but feel free to get creative with other fruits or edible flowers.
Rum Runner_001

Rum Runner

The Rum Runner is a fruity and refreshing cocktail that embodies the spirit of tropical escapism. This drink is believed to have been invented in the 1950s at the Holiday Isle Tiki Bar in Islamorada, Florida. It's a colorful concoction that combines rum with a variety of fruit flavors, making it a perfect beachside sipper.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
0 minutes
Calories 230 kcal


  • Blender
  • Hurricane glass or large glass
  • Measuring Jigger


  • 1 oz light rum
  • 1 oz dark rum
  • 1/2 oz blackberry liqueur
  • 1/2 oz banana liqueur
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • 1 oz pineapple juice
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • Splash of grenadine
  • Crushed ice


  • In a blender, combine light rum, dark rum, blackberry liqueur, banana liqueur, orange juice, pineapple juice, lime juice, and a splash of grenadine.
  • Add a cup of crushed ice and blend until the mixture is smooth.
  • Pour the mixture into a hurricane glass or other large glass.
  • Garnish with an orange slice and a cherry, if desired.


The Rum Runner can also be made without a blender by shaking the ingredients with ice and then straining into the glass. Adjust the sweetness to your liking by varying the amount of grenadine.
Keyword banana liqueur, blackberry liqueur, Classic Cocktail, Cocktail, fruit punch, grenadine, Lime Juice, Mixed Drink, orange juice, refreshment, Rum, Rum Runner, Tropical

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