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The original Rum Runner recipe is a tiki cocktail hailing from Islamorada, Florida that combines light and dark rum with banana liqueur, blackberry liqueur, and fresh citrus for a sweet, refreshing fruity beverage that tastes like an alcoholic version of fruit punch.

rum runner drink garnished with pineapple orange and maraschino cherry

One of my high school friend’s parents always kept a giant unmarked pitcher of adult iced tea in the fridge during the summer.

The first time we poured it we thought it was just regular iced tea. My friend took one sip and immediately spit it out! She wasn’t expecting that flavor, lol. (And they liked their adult beverages strong!)

Along those lines, this drink comes with a warning.

adult fruit punch in glass

A Rum Runner cocktail is sweet, fruity, and delicious. The best thing I can compare its flavor to is an adult version of fruit punch.

But be forewarned, it packs quite the alcoholic punch! With two types of rum, two types of liqueur, and an optional strong proof rum to float on top, you’ll be floating yourself after drinking one.

If there are under 21-ers in the house, this definitely isn’t the type of drink you want a pitcher of stashed in the fridge!

rum runner cocktail drink recipe

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • It tastes like an adult version of fruit punch: sweet, fruity, and delicious.
  • Don’t let the fruity flavor fool you – it’s strong! (Sip slowly and please drink responsibly!)
  • It has a tropical vibe that’s perfect for cooling down with on a hot day.

Rum Runner Ingredients

This drink has a strong, yet well-balanced fruity flavor profile. Use fresh citrus juice for the best flavor!

Ingredients Explained

In this section I explain the ingredients and give substitution ideas where applicable. For the full recipe (including the ingredient amounts), see the recipe card below.

rum runner ingredients
  • Dark rum
  • Light rum
  • Banana liqueur
  • Blackberry liqueur
  • Pineapple juice
  • Orange juice
  • Grenadine
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Crushed ice
  • Strong proof rum to float on top (optional)

How to Make a Rum Runner

Step 1: Mix (or Shake) it Up

hand pouring liquor into pitcher for rum runner

Mix together the dark rum, light rum, banana liqueur, blackberry liqueur, pineapple juice, orange juice, grenadine, and fresh lime juice in a cocktail pitcher. Or shake it up in a cocktail shaker!

Step 2: Serve it Over Ice

Add the crushed ice to a hurricane glass. Pour the drink into the glass.

Step 3: Optional Floating Rum and Garnishes

If desired, float strong proof rum on top. (To see how to float rum on a cocktail, check out my Mai Tai recipe.)

Garnish with anything you like.

prepping garnishes for rum runner drink
Prepping Garnishes

Tips

  • This tropical tiki cocktail has a variety of different liquors, liqueurs, and juices. They’re what create a fruit punch flavor. But with that being said, don’t stress it too much if you don’t have one or two of them; it’ll still be delicious!
  • In the spirit of fruit punch, you can go as crazy as you want with the garnishes for this classic rum drink! Feel free to use anything that’s in the drink as a garnish; some classic options are: cherries, pineapple wedges, blackberries, orange wheels, or lime wheels.
close up front view of classic rum runner in cocktail glass

Rum Runner Drink FAQs

Where is the Original Rum Runner Recipe From?


John Ebert (aka “Tiki John”) invented this cocktail in the late 1950’s at the Holiday Isle Tiki Bar in Islamorada, Florida. You can read more about this on Key West Food Tours.

Why Is It Called a Rum Runner?

This drink was named after rum runners in the Florida Keys in the early 1900’s. Similar to bootleggers during Prohibition, rum runners smuggled alcohol, but by water instead of by land.

One of the most famous rum runners was Captain Bill McCoy who smuggled rum from the Bahamas to South Florida. We get the expression “The Real McCoy” from him!

Learn more on Key West Food Tours.

What’s In a Rum Runner?

Rum Runners usually have light rum, dark rum, banana liqueur, blackberry liqueur, pineapple juice, orange juice, and grenadine. They also sometimes contain lime juice.

Additionally, you can float strong proof rum on top.

What Type of Cocktail Glass is a Rum Runner Served In?


A hurricane glass! This type of glass gets its name from the fact that its shape is similar to a hurricane lamp.

What’s the Difference Between a Hurricane and a Rum Runner?

A Hurricane cocktail contains light rum, dark rum, citrus juice (commonly orange juice and lime juice), passionfruit juice, and sometimes simple syrup and grenadine.

On the other hand, a Rum Runner replaces passionfruit juice with pineapple juice, banana liqueur, and blackberry liqueur.

top view of original rum runner drink with garnishes

More Summer Cocktails to Make

rum runner garnished with fresh fruit

Let’s Connect

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Rum Runner Cocktail Recipe

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time0 minutes
Yields: 1 serving
The original Rum Runner recipe is a tiki cocktail hailing from Islamorada, Florida that combines light and dark rum with banana liqueur, blackberry liqueur, and fresh citrus for a sweet, refreshing fruity beverage that tastes like an alcoholic version of fruit punch.

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Ingredients
 

  • 1 ounce dark rum
  • 1 ounce light rum
  • 1 ounce banana liqueur
  • 1 ounce blackberry liqueur
  • 1 ounce pineapple juice
  • 1 ounce orange juice
  • 1 ounce grenadine
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup crushed ice
  • 1 ounce strong proof rum to float on top (optional)

Optional Garnish Suggestions:

Instructions
 

  • Mix together the dark rum, light rum, banana liqueur, blackberry liqueur, pineapple juice, orange juice, grenadine, and fresh lime juice in a cocktail pitcher.
    hand pouring liquor in glass to make rum runner
  • Add the crushed ice to a hurricane glass.
  • Pour the drink into the glass.
  • If desired, float strong proof rum on top.
  • Garnish with anything you like.

Notes

  • Nutrition Information: The nutritional information for this recipe was calculated without the optional strong proof rum and garnishes.
  • For No Pulp: Strain the drink into the serving glass.
  • Lime Juice Substitution: If you don’t have fresh limes, you can use fresh lemon juice instead.

Nutrition

Calories: 433kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 24mg | Potassium: 144mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 39g | Vitamin A: 72IU | Vitamin C: 26mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information is automatically calculated and should be used as an approximate.

Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Original Rum Runner Recipe, Rum Runner, Rum Runner Cocktail, Rum Runner Cocktail Recipe, Rum Runner Drink, Rum Runner Drink Recipe, Rum Runner Recipe

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rum runner drink recipe pin
Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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