Rum Runner is a sweet and fruity rum cocktail with fruit liqueurs, juices, and a hidden kick. It tastes smooth and sweet but hides the fact that it packs a punch. If you’re craving a tropical drink on the stronger side, this is the cocktail to make.
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What Is A Rum Runner Cocktail
A rum runner is a classic Key West cocktail that is so well known for a reason – it’s both incredibly delicious and strong! When I think of summertime cocktails, my mind immediately jumps to a drink like this.
This history behind this tiki cocktail is pretty interesting! The rum runner was first concocted by a man named John Ebert who worked at a tiki bar in the Florida Keys in the 1950’s.
Apparently, there was an excessive amount of rum at the bar, and they needed to get rid of it to make room for their new inventory. So, to clear it all out, John started mixing these fruity rum drinks that we now know as rum runners.
The name of the drink itself comes from the term “rum runners!” They were people who would smuggle alcohol into the Keys during the prohibition period. In true Florida fashion, they smuggled the alcohol by water – not by land.
Even if you’re nowhere near the ocean, you’re going to love making this easy rum runner recipe. Each fruity sip will taste like a vacation on the beach!
Dark Rum – The rule of thumb when choosing a dark rum is to be selective. While you don’t necessarily need a top shelf bottle of rum, you want to steer clear of the cheap stuff too.
White Rum – Just like dark rum, you want to be sure you’re choosing a good quality bottle of white rum to mix into your rum runners. The white and dark rums are the base of the cocktail, and the quality of the rum determines the quality of the overall cocktail.
Banana Liqueur – If you have any extra banana liqueur after mixing this cocktail, put it to good use by making a dessert like Bananas Foster Pudding Parfait! I always keep a bottle of this liqueur on hand, especially since it has such a long shelf life.
Blackberry Liqueur – (or blackberry brandy!) You can also use this fruity liqueur to flavor other cocktails, like a Classic Sidecar Cocktail, Manhattan Cocktail, or even an Old Fashioned! Just toss in 1 oz of this liqueur to any of those cocktails to add a fresh blackberry twist.
Pineapple Juice – If you’re having trouble finding pure bottled pineapple juice, the juice from canned pineapple works too. You could also use the sliced pineapple to garnish your cocktail glasses.
Orange Juice – Use a pulp-free orange juice to make sure your rum runner is perfectly smooth.
See recipe card for complete information on ingredients and quantities.
How to Make a Rum Runner Cocktail
Just like the Florida Keys, this rum runner is laid back. The steps to making this tiki bar classic cocktail couldn’t be easier!
First, stay by adding ice to a hurricane glass, then set it aside. You’ll also want to add a few ice cubes to the cocktail shaker, so your drink gets deliciously cold as it mixes.
Pour all of the ingredients into the cocktail shaker.
Shake it well for just a few seconds.
Using a strainer top, strain the mixture into a hurricane glass.
Garnish the glasses, and enjoy! Don’t be afraid to really have fun with the garnishes, too. Making a rum runner is the perfect excuse to whip out the mini umbrellas!
A hurricane cocktail is actually quite different flavor profile from a rum rummer. They both feature light and dark rum but when it comes to flavor ingredients, very different. A hurricane is made with passionfruit and orange juice, while a rum runner features blackberry liqueur, banana liqueur, pineapple juice, and orange juice.
Yes, Rum Runner is a pretty strong cocktail but the strength is hidden by the bright fruit flavor. There are 4 oz. of alcohol total and 2 oz of juice. Be mindful when drinking them because they do not taste strong at all!
Rum runner is a sweet, fruity, tropical cocktail that you want to pair with something that also has a bright flavors with some sweetness. Great dinner recipes to pair would be Blackened Fish Tacos, Pork Carnitas, and Pineapple Grilled Chicken Kebabs.
You can also serve pineapple salsa and mango salsa with some tortilla chips and a great snack.
Variations to Try:
- While mini umbrellas, blackberries and orange slices are my favorite rum runner garnishes, you can get even more creative with garnishes! Sliced strawberries, pineapple, and maraschino cherries are all gorgeous on top of this tropical drink. Whip out your tiki glasses too!
- You can make this drink even more summer-friendly by making it frozen! Simply pour all of the ingredients into a blender and add 1/2 to 1 cup of ice. Blend it all together until smooth, and you’ll have the best boozy slushy to enjoy by the pool.
- For an extra island-inspired flavor, substitute the plain white rum for coconut rum. It’s a wonderful way to get just a delicate hint of coconut! I would advise against any other flavored rums, as there are already so many other strongly flavored juices and liqueurs here.
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Rum Runner Cocktail
- 1 oz dark rum
- 1 oz white rum
- 1 oz banana liqueur
- 1 oz blackberry liqueur
- 1 oz pineapple juice
- 1 oz orange juice
- Fill hurricane glass with some ice about 1/2 -2/3 of the way.
- In a cocktail shaker, combine all the ingredients and a handful of ice.
- Shake well for a few seconds and strain the mixture into the glass.
- Garnish and enjoy!