Rum Runner Cocktail Recipe

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Rum Runner Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Rum Runner cocktail has its origins in the late 1950s at the Holiday Isle Tiki Bar in Islamorada, Florida. The bar's owner was trying to use up excess inventory of rum and other liqueurs, and the Rum Runner was born. This tropical cocktail quickly gained popularity among beachgoers and sailors, and it remains a favorite among those who enjoy fruity, rum-based drinks.

How Rum Runner Tastes?

The Rum Runner is a sweet and fruity cocktail with a hint of tartness. Its flavors are a harmonious blend of tropical fruits, with the rum providing a smooth and warming backbone. The drink is both refreshing and satisfying, making it perfect for sipping on a hot summer day.

Interesting facts about Rum Runner

  • The Rum Runner is named after the Prohibition-era smugglers who transported rum and other spirits from the Caribbean to the United States.
  • The original recipe for the Rum Runner included a splash of 151-proof rum, which added an extra kick to the drink.
  • There are many variations of the Rum Runner, with some recipes calling for additional fruit juices or different types of rum.


Dark Rum

Dark rum adds a rich, caramel-like sweetness with a bit of spice. It balances the lighter, sweeter ingredients. Using less might make the cocktail too light; more could overpower the delicate fruitiness.

Alex Green

Light Rum

Lighter in flavor than dark rum, it provides an alcoholic kick without altering the tropical vibe. If omitted, the cocktail would have a weaker rum profile and be less complex.

Emma Rose

Banana Liqueur

This brings a creamy, banana flavor that's a key exotic note. Without it, you'd miss depth and the signature banana hint that aligns with the tropical theme.

Mary Mitkina

Blackberry Liqueur

It contributes fruity undertones and a dark berry sweetness. Skipping it would result in a less nuanced flavor profile.

Alex Green

Orange Juice

The zesty citrus flavor lightens the drink. Too little, and the cocktail feels flat; too much, and citrus overshadows other flavors.

Emma Rose

Pineapple Juice

This adds a tangy, tropical touch. Plays well with other fruit flavors but can be overpowering if overused.

Mary Mitkina


It gives a touch of color and a whisper of pomegranate sweetness. Too much can make the drink overly sweet and syrupy.

Alex Green

Crushed Ice

Creates a frosty texture essential for a refreshing cocktail. No ice would make the drink too strong and warm.

Emma Rose

Orange Slice and Maraschino Cherry

Classic garnishes that provide a visual feast and hint at the flavors within.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Rum Runner Drink

  1. Fill a blender with the crushed ice.
  2. Add the dark rum, light rum, banana liqueur, blackberry liqueur, orange juice, pineapple juice, and grenadine to the blender.
  3. Blend until smooth and well combined.
  4. Pour the mixture into a hurricane or highball glass.
  5. Garnish with an orange slice and a maraschino cherry.

Pro Tips

  • Chill your glass before pouring the cocktail to keep it cool for longer.
  • Use fresh fruit juices for a more vibrant and refreshing taste.
  • For a stronger rum flavor, consider using a dark rum with a higher proof.

Perfect Pairings

Spicy Appetizers

Spicy foods like buffalo wings or jalapeño poppers complement the fruitiness of the cocktail, contrasting with its sweet profile.


Light seafood dishes, particularly grilled shrimp or a fresh ceviche, pair beautifully with the tropical notes of the Rum Runner.


The sweetness of the Rum Runner can cut through the richness of BBQ ribs or pulled pork, offering a refreshing balance.

Fruit Desserts

Tropical fruit desserts, such as mango sorbet or pineapple upside-down cake, will echo the fruity flavors in the drink.

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What you could change in Rum Runner

  • Dark Rum: Can be replaced with bourbon or brandy.
  • Banana Liqueur: A splash of banana extract mixed with a bit of simple syrup can be used as a substitute.
  • Blackberry Liqueur: Raspberry liqueur or Chambord can be used as a substitute.

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Spiced Runner

Switch out the light rum for a spiced rum variant. Add a dash of cinnamon syrup. The spice will give the drink a warming sensation, ideal for a cooler evening.

Berry Runner

Replace half of the orange juice with raspberry puree and the grenadine with Chambord. This will yield a cocktail with a deeper berry fervor, perfect for those who like it a bit tart.

Frozen Runner

Transform the Rum Runner into a frozen treat by adding more ice and blending until it's thick like a sorbet. Serve in a chilled glass with a sprinkle of nutmeg on top. This colder cousin is a fantastic escape on a scorching day.

In case you forgot basics how to make Rum Runner

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Rum Runner

What's the history behind the name 'Rum Runner'?

During the prohibition era, smugglers who transported rum from the Caribbean to the U.S were referred to as 'rum runners'. This fruity cocktail is named in their honor.

Are there any non-alcoholic versions of the Rum Runner?

Yes, a mocktail version of the Rum Runner can be made by leaving out the rums and liqueurs. For flavor, you can add additional fruit juices or use non-alcoholic substitutes for the rum.

Is there a specific type of rum that is best for this cocktail?

A balance of dark and light rum is typically used in this cocktail. However, the types of rum used can greatly influence the final taste of the drink.

Can I premix a batch of Rum Runners?

Yes, you can premix Rum Runners, but it's recommended to add the crushed ice just before serving to maintain a fresh and slushy consistency.

How can I adjust the sweetness of a Rum Runner?

You can adjust the sweetness of this cocktail by increasing or decreasing the amount of grenadine or the fruit juices.

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