The Rum Runner Cocktail

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This past week, I got the opportunity (as part of the “day job”) to attend the Instructional Technology Council’s e-Learning 2011 conference in St. Pete’s Beach, FL. It was held at the Tradewinds Grand Island, so needless to say, people hit the resort’s six separate bars quite heavily, and having a hotel sanctioned bar crawl didn’t help matters much either (but more on that later).

Most of the Tradewinds watering holes share the same tropical drink menu and unlike your usual beach fare, they are not dispensed from the giant slurpee machines of mediocrity or completely comprised of pre-mix dreadfulness and would probably be best described as “semi-homemade”. Yes, you’ll get your fair share of short-cut recipes and faux Mai Tais that would have Victor Bergeron turning over in his grave, but their Rum Runners (arguable the MVP drink of the conference) were quite good.

The origin of the “Rum Runner”, like the “Moscow Mule“, is rumored to have been born out of expediency, in this instance it was created in 1950’s at the Holiday Isle Tiki Bar in Islamorada, Florida. “Tiki John”, the bartender on duty was confronted with an excess of rum and other liqueurs and since the arrival of more inventory was imminent, he had to come up with a way to purge the overstock with something marketable to the tourists.

The Rum Runner

named after the daring “Rum Runners” of the Prohibition era that ran the Florida coasts

  • 1 oz pineapple juice
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • 1 oz blackberry liqueur
  • 1 oz banana liqueur
  • 1 oz light rum
  • 1 oz dark rum or aged rum
  • Splash grenadine
  • one ounce of Bacardi 151 to float on top

or alternatively, the “the original” specs off the glass at the Holiday Isle:

  • 7/8 oz Blackberry brandy
  • 7/8 oz Banana liqueur
  • 1/2 oz Black rum
  • 1/2 oz 151 proof rum
  • 5/8 oz Grenadine
  • 1 oz Lime juice

Glass: Hurricane
Garnish: Orange slice

Fill glass with ice. Add the liquid contents, stir. Pour the 151 in the straw (as done by the Tradewinds) or on the top.


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