Rum Runner Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep/Cook Time: 10 min.
One sip of a rum runner drink can trick you into thinking you’re enjoying an island paradise, especially if a colorful paper umbrella is involved.

Updated: Apr. 25, 2024

With its ambrosial blend of fruity, sugary island flavors, a rum runner cocktail will whisk you off to the tropics from the very first sip. This classic rum drink is made with blackberry and banana liqueurs, orange juice, pineapple juice, and a splash of grenadine syrup. Thanks to all those fruit flavors, a rum runner is one of those strong drinks that goes down easy.

Rum Runner Ingredients

  • Rums: New to buying rum? Here are the best rums to add to your liquor cabinet. Don’t forget: You need light and dark rums for this rum runner cocktail recipe.
  • Liqueurs: Not to be confused with liquors (gin, vodka, etc.), liqueurs are sweetened and flavored spirits. To add flavor, depth and color, you’ll need blackberry and banana liqueurs for this rum runner.
  • Juices: Feel free to use pre-juiced orange or pineapple juice to make this rum runner drink recipe even easier.
  • Grenadine: Purchase grenadine from the store, or make your own grenadine at home with just sugar, pomegranate juice and lemon juice.


Step 1: Fill the cocktail shaker

Filling up the shaker with grenadine syrupTMB Studio

Start by filling your cocktail shaker three-fourths full with ice, then measure in the light and dark rums, liqueurs, juices and grenadine syrup.

Step 2: Shake and strain the drink

Shaking the shaker with handsTMB Studio

Cover the cocktail shaker, and shake until condensation forms on the outside of the shaker, 15 to 20 seconds.

Filling the glass with cocktailTMB Studio

Take out a chilled cocktail glass and fill it with ice, then strain the drink into the glass. Garnish the cocktail as desired with maraschino cherries, orange slices and pineapple wedges.

Editor’s Tip: Use the largest ice cubes you can make at home to prevent your rum runner cocktail from being watered down too much. Ice chips or crushed ice will melt very quickly, so 2-inch ice cubes or ice spheres are preferable.

Rum Runner Cocktail served with garnishingTMB Studio

Recipe Variations

  • Swap in a different rum: The easiest way to punch up this rum runner recipe is with a different rum. Spiced rum and coconut rum are the best contenders.
  • Use a different juice: Replace the orange and pineapple juices with your favorite fruit juice, like lime or mango. Fruit punch would make a good substitute as well.
  • Try another liqueur: Swap in what you have on hand for the banana and blackberry liqueurs.

Can you make a rum runner ahead of time?

Yes, you can partially make this ahead of time. Grab a mason jar or an airtight container, and pour in the light and dark rums, liqueurs, juices and grenadine. Cover and keep the mixture in the fridge for up to three days.

Rum Runner Tips

Top shot of Rum Runner Cocktail served with garnishingTMB Studio

Where did the rum runner recipe originate?

The drink is said to have been invented in Islamorada, Florida, at the Holiday Isle Tiki Bar, as a means of using up excess liquor before new inventory arrived. As for the catchy name, legend has it that the drink is named after actual “rum runners” who smuggled the alcohol from the Bahamas into Florida speakeasies during Prohibition.

How do you serve a rum runner cocktail?

A rum runner drink fits in a classic highball, but for an island feel you can use other cocktail glasses such as a hurricane or margarita glass loaded up with fruit and a paper umbrella.

Rum Runner

Prep Time 10 min
Yield 1 serving


  • Ice cubes
  • 1 ounce light rum
  • 1 ounce dark rum
  • 1 ounce blackberry liqueur
  • 1 ounce banana liqueur
  • 1 ounce orange juice
  • 1 ounce pineapple juice
  • Splash grenadine syrup
  • Optional garnishes: Maraschino cherry, orange slice or pineapple wedge


  1. Fill a shaker three-fourths full with ice. Add the rums, liqueurs, juices and grenadine. Cover and shake for 15-20 seconds or until condensation forms on outside of shaker. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass with ice. Garnish as desired.

Nutrition Facts

1 serving: 365 calories, 0 fat (0 saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 1mg sodium, 29g carbohydrate (28g sugars, 0 fiber), 0 protein.

The rum runner is thought to have originated in Florida, using rum that was transported from the Bahamas during Prohibition. It was a great way for speakeasies to use up extra inventory before new liquor arrived. —Shawn Barto, Palmetto, Florida