Rum Runner – The Tipsy Tale

The Tipsy Tale of the Original Florida Keys Rum Runner Recipe 🍹🏝️

rum runnerAhoy there, rum lovers! 🏴‍☠️ Get ready to set sail on a boozy journey through the colorful history of the iconic Rum Runner cocktail, born in the sun-soaked Florida Keys. 🌴Our story begins in the 1970s at the legendary Holiday Isle Tiki Bar in Islamorada, where a crafty bartender named “Tiki John” Ebert found himself in a bit of a pickle. 🥒 The bar overflowed with excess rum and liqueurs that needed to be used up before new inventory arrived. Rising to the challenge, Tiki John channeled his inner pirate. He concocted a delightful elixir that would become known as the Rum Runner.  

Legend has it that Tiki John mixed up a storm of banana liqueur, Meyers rum, brandy, and grenadine, creating a tropical explosion of flavors that would make any rum-loving scallywag weak in the knees.

🍌🥃 The drink was dubbed the “Rum Runner” in honor of the notorious bootleggers who smuggled Caribbean rum into Florida during the wild days of Prohibition. As the fame of the Florida Keys grew, so did the popularity of the Rum Runner. Tourists and celebrities alike flocked to the Holiday Isle Tiki Bar to get their hands on the legendary libation. The frozen version became a favorite, perfect for beating the heat of the Florida sun. ☀️🧊While the exact origins of the Rum Runner recipe remain unsurprisingly, one thing is certain: it’s a tropical, fruit-packed, sugar-jammed doozy of a drink! 🍍🍒 The architecture of the cocktail relies on a strategic blend of light rum, dark rum, and high-proof rum to create a flavor profile that’s both complex and dangerously delicious.  So, next time you find yourself in the Florida Keys, be sure to belly up to the bar and order a Rum Runner. 🍹 Raise a glass to Tiki John and the rum-running renegades who inspired this iconic cocktail. And remember, it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere in the Keys! 🕰️🌴Cheers! 🥂

So, I set out on a quest to visit (drink) as many rum runners as possible at bars in Key West to get their take on the classic rum runner. No one would share, so I built my own and tried it out on a few unsuspecting friends under my Tiki hut at Bluewater Key. Here is my knock-you-on-your-ass version:

A classic Rum Runner contains the following ingredients:

Bob's Rum Runner
Prep time
Total time
One Bdd Ass Coctail
Recipe type: Coctail
Cuisine: Florida Keys
Serves: 1 bad ass cocktail
  • 1 oz Meyers dark rum (Apleton Rum Punch is my fav if you can find it)
  • 1 oz Malibu Coconut rum
  • 1 oz banana liqueur
  • 1 oz blackberry liqueur (Not Brandy!)
  • 1 oz pineapple juice
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • Splash of grenadine
  • Squeeze of fresh lime juice
  • Crushed ice
  1. To make it, simply mix all the ingredients together in a shaker with ice, then strain into a hurricane glass filled with fresh ice. You can optionally float an extra ½ oz of strong-proof rum on top.The combination of light and dark rums, banana and blackberry liqueurs, and fresh fruit juices gives the Rum Runner a sweet, fruity flavor reminiscent of an adult fruit punch. However, with 4 oz of liquor plus extra rum floated on top, it packs a strong punch despite the innocent taste.


While many variations exist, an authentic Rum Runner my recipe from the Florida Keys contains this signature blend of rums, liqueurs, and tropical juices, making it an iconic tiki cocktail for decades.

Enjoy responsibly and sip slowly!

Share With A Friend

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply