Learn how to make the popular tropical cocktail, the Rum Runner! Featuring both light and dark rum, fruit liqueurs and fruit juices, this rum runner recipe will give you all the warm island vibes! Fun, refreshing and perfect for both relaxing and summer entertaining, the rum runner is always a delicious, refreshing drink option!
Featured comment: We tried it and it is delicious! It reminds us of Aruba! This recipe is a keeper! – Rosa
Update: This rum runner recipe was originally published in July 2015. I made updates to the post below to include more information about this classic tiki cocktail!
Happy Sunday funday, friends! I’m not sure about you, but personally, I love Sundays. Between the brunch, endless mimosa cocktails and bloody Mary bars, followed by baking in pajamas, a movie session, possibly a nap, and most definitely a lot of R & R at home. I mean, what’s not to love about a Sunday?!
And, Sunday is made infinitely better if all that fun involves a fruity classic cocktail or two! Am I right, or am I right? Enter a classic tiki cocktail made specifically for summer fun – the rum runner drink!
About this rum runner recipe
If you have been a long time reader of this blog, you know I love a good recipe twist. However, this cocktail isn’t a riff on the traditional Rum Runner. It stays pretty true to the classic Island drink. Mostly because, if something isn’t broke, why fix it?
However, if you search the internet you will find that there are literally hundreds of different renditions of this fruity libation. There are a million and one ways to make Rum Runner punch – from the amount of rum, to the type of fruit juices, or quantity of grenadine, and more!
I chose to keep this rum runner cocktail recipe pretty close to the classic. I did play around with the quantities and amounts of alcohol, liquors, and fruit juices until I created a libation with a good amount of rum-bite to tropical-vibes. But, as always, I highly encourage you to adjust the measurements of your cocktail to suit your own taste buds!
How to customize your rum runner cocktail
- If you want a weaker tropical mixed drink, decrease the amount of both the dark and light rum from 1 ounce to 1/2 ounce, each.
- If you want a fruit-forward booze-drink, increase the amount of orange juice and pineapple juice from 1 ounce to 1 1/2 or 2 ounces each.
- For a tarter cocktail, increase the lime juice to 1 ounce.
- Can’t find banana liqueur? Skip it or make your own by combining sliced bananas with white rum (allow the mixture to soak at least overnight).
What is a rum runner?
A rum runner is a tropical, fruity cocktail made up of rum and various fruit.
The tropical rum cocktail was invented at the Holiday Isle Tiki Bar in Islamorada, Florida in the late 1950’s. The rum cocktail was named after the actual “rum runners” that inhabited the Florida Keys.
What’s in this cocktail?
The classic cocktail includes a combination of (at least) rum, banana liqueur, and grenadine; however, blackberry liqueur is often included. It’s important to note that like so many cocktails, the recipe for this midcentury tropical drink has evolved over the years. Modern versions now include coconut rum, blackberry liqueur, pineapple juice, orange juice and more.
Rum runner ingredients
Want to make a great cocktail at home? Here’s what you’ll need:
(Tip: All the ingredient measurements for this rum runner recipe are either 1/2-ounce or 1-ounce. This keeps your cocktail making process simple and makes it easy to batch (double or triple the cocktail recipe! )
- Rum: This rum runner recipe uses a combination of both white rum and spiced dark rum for a robust flavor.
- Banana Liqueur: Also known as Crème de banane, half an ounce banana liqueur lends a creamy, subtle sweetness to this umbrella drink.
- Blackberry Liqueur: While not a traditional ingredient, blackberry liqueur, also known as Crème de Mûre, provides a slight tannic touch.
- Substitution: You can substitute Crème de Cassis, black currant liqueur.
- Fruit Juices:A combination of a few ounces pineapple juice, orange juice and lime juice provide plenty of tangy, tart tropical flavors!
- Grenadine: A generous splash of grenadine syrup lends a sweet, tart flavor and gives the rum runner cocktail that classic vibrant, rich red color.
Note: I strongly recommend making cocktails and drinks to your taste. There’s no real right or wrong way to make a Rum Runner, as long as you make something you enjoy drinking! So, be your own mixologist and play around with the ingredients and proportions to create the tropical drinks of your dreams!
How to make the best rum drink?
To make the best rum runner recipe, make sure you adjust the ingredients to suit your individual taste!
If you want to make a strong cocktail, try adding a shot of Bacardi 151 to the top of the cocktail as a floater!
To make an authentic rum runner, be sure to serve it in the correct tall glass – hurricane glasses (they are shaped like a vase)!
How to make rum runner on the rocks?
To make a rum runner on the rocks, combine rum with liqueurs, fruit juices and a splash of grenadine in a cocktail shaker. Stir the ingredients together. Pour the cocktail into a glass filled with ice. Garnish with fresh fruit and enjoy!
How to make a rum runner drink frozen?
To make a frozen rum runner, fill a blender with ice, rum, liqueurs, fruit juices and a splash of grenadine. Blend on high until cocktail is combined and smooth. Pour the tiki cocktail into a glass and garnish with fresh fruit, such as blackberries. Enjoy!
Grab your shaker, pour yourself a tall one and join me in relaxing this summer with the best classic tropical rum cocktail – the rum runner drink!
More summer cocktails!
If you love this rum runner recipe, try these fan favorites next:
The best Tropical Rum Cocktail recipe👇
- Cocktail Shaker or Jar with Tight Fitting Lid
- 1 oz Dark Spiced Rum
- 1 oz White Rum
- ½ oz Banana Liqueur (Crème de banane)
- ½ oz Blackberry Liqueur (Crème de Mûre) (can substitute Crème de cassis)
- 1 oz Orange Juice
- 1 oz Pineapple Juice
- ½ oz Lime Juice
- ½ oz Grenadine
Optional Garnish: Maraschino Cherries, Orange Slices, Lime Slices, Pineapple Wedges
- Combine ingredients with ice: Add all ingredients to a shaker. Fill with ice.
- Shake: Vigorously shake the cocktail shaker until it is very cold to the touch. Remove the top and strain the rum runner into a glass filled with ice.
- Serve: Garnish with fresh fruit, a cocktail umbrella, or your favorite drink accessories. Enjoy!
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