Rum Runner: 3 Easy Recipes for the Fruity Tiki Cocktail


The rum runner was created in the 1950s at the Tiki Bar of Holiday Isle in Islamorada, Florida. It’s a popular tiki cocktail filled with fruits and rum. You can either shake or blend it and no matter how you mix it up, the rum runner’s always a delicious drink.

Rum Runner

With tropical drinks, it’s very common that the mix is reinterpreted in many different ways, and rarely do two recipes agree. The rum runner is a perfect example, though there are a few elements that most (not all) recipes agree on: rum, banana and blackberry liqueurs, and grenadine. From there, recipes include pineapple or orange juices (or both), one or two rums (sometimes spiced or coconut), and the occasional use of falernum, among other things. 

Since they are diverse, you’ll find three unique rum runner recipes to try. It really doesn’t matter which rum runner is “original” or “the best,” because the journey in finding your ideal rum runner is half the fun!

An Easy Fruity Rum Runner

This rum runner recipe may have one of the longest ingredient lists, but each is poured equally, so it’s an easy drink to remember and make. It combines two styles of rum, which is a nice foundation for the fruity combination of banana, blackberry, orange, and pineapple. Some drinkers like to replace the dark rum with spiced rum or switch to a coconut rum like Malibu instead of pouring light rum.


  • 1 ounce light rum
  • 1 ounce dark rum (or aged rum)
  • 1 ounce banana liqueur
  • 1 ounce blackberry liqueur (or blackberry brandy)
  • 1 ounce orange juice
  • 1 ounce pineapple juice
  • 1 splash grenadine
  • Garnish: variety of fresh fruit

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.Rum Runner Ingredients
  2. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, pour all of the ingredients.pour ingredients into shaker
  3. Shake well and strain into a hurricane glass over fresh ice.
  4. Garnish with fruit and enjoy!Rum Runner

Recipe Variation

  • Make this rum runner a frozen drink by pouring theingredients into a blender with about 3/4 cup of ice. Blend until smooth.

A Rum Runner Heavy on the OJ

If you enjoy orange juice cocktails, this is a great rum runner recipe. It requires fewer ingredients, so it’s super easy to make. The rum, blackberry brandy, and banana liqueur complement the fresh orange nicely, and their combined sweetness offsets the tart citrus. Try it in the blender as well; it makes a fantastic frozen cocktail.

To make this drink, combine 1 1/2 ounces of rum with 1/2 ounce each ofblackberry brandy and crème de banana, and 3 ounces of orange juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Add a dash of falernum, shake, and strain into a chilled hurricane glass.


  • If you cannot find falernum (an almond, ginger, lime, and spiced sugar syrup) that is used in many rum cocktails, use grenadine instead.

A Classically-Styled Rum Runner

Dale DeGroff’s “The Craft of the Cocktail” is a book filled with amazing recipes like this rum runner. It’s entirely different than all others, and that’s what makes it great!

This drink has a lighter profile because it skips the heaviness of orange juice and opts for refreshing pineapple instead. It also features two rums and introduces the rich texture of an egg white. All of these elements give DeGroff’s rum runner a classic style that’s lost in most modern renditions of the cocktail.

To make this drink, muddle a piece of lime in the bottom of a cocktail shaker until lightly bruised. Add 1 ounce each of light and medium rums, pineapple juice, and simple syrup, as well as 1/2 ounce of lime juice and an egg white. Shake vigorously (more than usual to properly mix the egg) and strain into a tall glass with ice. Garnish with tropical fruit.

How Strong Are the Rum Runner Cocktails?

Rum-filled tiki cocktails are generally not light drinks, though they can be as strong as you want to make them. If you pour stronger rum or use less juice, you will naturally get a stronger drink.

To estimate the alcohol content of these rum runner recipes, let’s assume you pour 80-proof rums, a 60-proof banana liqueur, and a 50-proof blackberry liqueur. The first recipe includes two rums and two liqueurs, so it comes in at a rather potent 25 percent ABV (42 proof), or similar to a fruity martini. The other recipes include more juice per volume and are a more relaxing 14 percent ABV (28 proof). That’s more like drinking a glass of wine.

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