The Rum Runner is a typical drink for summertime. It is a tropical blend of sweet banana and blackberry liqueurs mixed with Rum, fresh pineapple, and lime juice. The flavor profile of the famous tiki cocktail is complex and has quite some depth. However, due to its fruitiness, it is dangerously easy to drink. Just the perfect sip to enjoy by the pool or beach.
The roots of this drink lie in the Southern part of Florida keys. The home of the Rum Runners that inhabited this area during prohibition to smuggle and import Rum and other liquors from nearby Caribbean countries into Florida. So let's find out a bit more about the history of this iconic Rum cocktail.
History of the Rum Runner cocktail
If you research the Rum Runner history, you'll often read that it's a drink from the 1950s invented in the Holiday Isle tiki bar in Islamorada. But although the cocktail was most likely indeed developed by the Holiday Isle's bar manager, the bar didn't even exist in the 1950s.
In fact, the bar opened in 1969 under the name "The Hapi Hula Hut." Though that name didn't last long, and it soon got renamed "Holiday Isle Tiki Bar" only two years later, in 1971. The Tiki bar is still open today and a favorite among tourists and locals alike.
Legend has it that the bar manager John Elber, also called Tiki John, "had to get rid of an excess of Rum and other liqueurs before the arrival of new inventory." In an effort to create a new cocktail out of some of these ingredients, Tiki John came up with a concoction of Myers Rum, Brandy, banana liqueur, and Grenadine. He served his creation under the name Rum Runner, and the drink became a true success.
Ingredients of the Rum Runner
By comparing today's recipe and the original creation by Tiki John, you will see that there are quite some differences. Over time the recipe evolved into a better balanced and even more refreshing cocktail. So let's look at the ingredients you will need to make a modern Rum Runner cocktail.
In the original recipe, Myers Rum was the base of the drink. Whereas in many modern Rum cocktails, the Rum base is split between dark and light Rum in order to obtain a deeper flavor profile. And the Rum Runner follows this practice.
The next part is the banana and blackberry liqueurs. For both of them, you can find plenty of options on the market, but my personal preference is the products from Giffard. Both Giffard Banane du Bresil and Crème de Mûre are excellent liqueurs that aren't artificially sweet.
Fresh fruit juices are a must. Freshly squeezed lime and pineapple juices are essential to make this tropical cocktail shine. So please don't opt for packed juices instead.
The last part of this cocktail is Grenadine. And while I'm not exactly a fan of it, it's essential to numerous recipes. Just make sure not to overuse it as the resulting drink can become too sweet quite quickly.
- 1 oz Aged Jamaican Rum
- 1 oz Havana Club 3 years
- 1 oz Giffard Banane du Brésil
- 0.5 oz Crème de Mûre
- 2 oz Fresh pineapple juice
- 1 oz Freshly squeezed lime juice
- 0.25 oz Grenadine
- Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice.
- Shake until the drink is well-chilled and strain into a glass filled with crushed ice.
- Optionally garnish with a pineapple wedge and a Maraschino cherry.