The Best Rum Runner Recipe

It is human nature to desire things that are unattainable. During the Prohibition period in America, alcohol was no exception. As we’ve seen repeatedly when a substance is banned from the public market, it doesn’t disappear; it just moves to the black market. And this is exactly what happened with alcohol.

Bootlegging became a prevalent practice. Street vendors would produce their own alcoholic products illegally, selling them to locals discreetly. With how much risk these vendors took, consumers could expect to pay an arm and a leg for a bottle.

Though some companies were allowed to continue producing alcohol for medicinal purposes, the supply of alcohol in the country dwindled significantly. In effect, prices for alcohol on the black market were sky-high. 

Contrary to popular belief, though, there were some positive results produced from Prohibition. With their backs against the wall, producers were forced to innovate and find new ways to sell their products.

One of the most notable alcoholic inventions made during the period was the creation of Rum Runners. The invention of this cocktail was made possible by Captain William McCoy, who brought it to south Florida from the Bahamas in the 1920s. He found the drink in Bimini, a chain of islands located about 80 kilometers east of Miami.

At first, McCoy was focused on delivering rum all throughout the Bahamas. However, he soon set his sights overseas. With how lucrative the sale of illegal alcohol was in America during that time, he couldn’t resist. 

Today, we’re going to be discussing how to make your own version of this historic cocktail. Continue reading below with Saucey for the best Rum Runner recipe on the internet.

The story of rum runners

During Prohibition, the smuggling of alcohol became a common practice among drinkers. People would bring alcohol to the United States from other countries, mark it up twice, sometimes triple its retail value, and sell it.

One style of smuggling that was widely used is rum-running, which essentially was the smuggling of rum by water. Large vessels would sail to the United States from other regions, primarily the Caribbean. Then, they would transfer the cargo to smaller ships just outside the U.S. territorial waters. These small ships would row to shore during the depths of night, protected by darkness.

Though this practice flooded the black market with tons of different rums, it also lowered the overall quality of the rum market. In these times, smugglers were often diluting their rums with water, moonshine, flavored juice, and cheaper rum brands.

By doing this, they were able to increase their profits exponentially. Once they reached the States, they would sell these cheap, watered-down versions of rum as premium spirits. 

Naturally, rum became increasingly popular among Americans. Even after Prohibition, rum continued to be sold all throughout the country. It was during the 1920s and early 1930s that Americans really grew a taste for the spirit. 

As for the Rum Runner cocktail is generally believed that the Rum Runner cocktail was invented in the late 1950s at the Holiday Isle Tiki Bar in Islamorada, Florida.

Apparently, the bar had too much rum in stock, as well as some flavored liquors. They needed to move this inventory before new inventory showed up. So they created the Rum Runner.

The drink was named after the rum runners who were smuggling rum into the Florida Keys decades ago. Since then, several different variations of the drink have been created. 

A classic Rum Runner recipe

A lot of cocktails are simple and only contain a few ingredients. The Rum Runner, however, has one of the longest ingredient lists there are. 

Luckily, most of the ingredients are poured equally, so it’s easy to remember the recipe.

For one, you’re going to need two different types of rum. It is up to your personal preference which rum you choose, but traditionally, people use dark rum and light rum. Others elect to switch out the dark rum for a spiced rum or the light rum for a coconut rum.

Besides rum, you’ll also need: 

Fruits that work well as a garnish for this drink include pineapples, melons, cherries, citrus, passion fruit, and dragon fruit. You can also use cucumber ribbons as a garnish.  

Lastly, keep a measuring cup and shaker around. You can also use a blender to mix your drink. 

wray-nephew--white-overproof-rum_best rum runner recipe

Preparing your Rum Runner cocktail

Once you’ve gathered your supplies, it’s time to put it all together. The first step is to pour all your alcohol and juices into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. 

Measure out an ounce of your rums, as well as an ounce of banana liqueur and pineapple or orange juice. Measure out a half-ounce of blackberry liqueur or brandy. Throw all your ingredients into the shaker, along with a splash of grenadine.

The next step is to shake it up. If shaking by hand, close the lid of your shaker, pick it up, and pump your arm back and forth vigorously. 

If you’re using a blender, fill the container about a third of the way full with ice. Then, pour your ingredients in and blend. Once your drink is mixed, you can strain it into a hurricane glass. Serve it with ice.

When you’re all done, slice up your fruit into wedges and stick it on the edge of the glass. Voila. You have a beautiful Rum Runner.

Play around with ingredients to create variations on the Rum Runner

You don’t have to stick to this same recipe every time. Feel free to play around with your ingredients and experiment.

For instance, if you find that the traditional Rum Runner is a bit strong for you, you can reduce the amount of rum you put in from one ounce to a half-ounce each. Alternatively, if you think the original recipe is too weak, add a shot of Bacardi 151 to your mixture.

If you’re looking for a fruitier taste, you can increase the amount of pineapple or orange juice to two ounces. You can even include both pineapple and orange juice in your Rum Runner. Just add an ounce of each juice to your drink. Some people also like to use different juices besides pineapple and orange. 

Others like a tarter cocktail. For this effect, add an ounce of lime juice to your shaker or blender. 

In some areas, banana liqueur may be difficult to find. Fortunately, you can make your own by simply blending sliced bananas with white rum. Just soak the bananas in the rum overnight, and you’ve got some banana-flavored liqueur.

Occasionally, people also use falernum in their Rum Runner. Falernum is a sweet syrup liqueur at 11% ABV, used to sweeten cocktails. It comes from the Caribbean. There are also non-alcoholic versions of falernum.

On those hot summer days, you can even freeze your Rum Runner. Just blend your ingredients with tons of ice cubes and pulse it a few times to get that grainy, smoothie-like texture. 

The great thing about this cocktail is that it is so versatile. You truly can do whatever you want with it. There are no rules. Just make your drink as tasty as possible.

The best rums to use in a Rum Runner

Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum is by far the most iconic in Jamaica. This rum is synonymous with Jamaican culture. Wray & Nephew has been a widely recognized name since the early 1800s, known as a classic family brand. Their rum is handcrafted in the Nassau Valley of Jamaica in small batches. They are bottled at 125.5% proof.

Montanya Oro is one of the finest expressions of rum on the market. The flavors in this spirit are naturally sweet from the sugar cane. They are complex due to the drink’s long barrel aging process. This drink contains notes of red chili, coffee, caramel, vanilla, pineapple, and chocolate. The Oro is the recipient of 8 silver medals in competition.

There are few aged rums as elegant and affordable as SelvaRey White Rum. This rum is a blend of a three-year-old rum and a five-year-old rum. It is aged in bourbon casks and is imported from Panama. At 40% ABV, this rum provides the punch and flavor needed to make an amazing Mojito. Interestingly, the brand is co-founded by Bruno Mars.

The takeaway

There really is no wrong time to enjoy a delicious glass of Rum Runner. Whether it’s summer or winter, this drink will hit the spot. 

The Rum Runner was popularized in south Florida, where it is still one of its most popular mixed drinks. This tropical cocktail is sweet, fruity, and bold.

For all of your rum needs, be sure to visit Saucey.

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