Rum Runner

There’s nothing better than being on a sailboat, floating out on the ocean, and looking at all the natural beauty.

Rum Runner - Smooth, refreshing & after a few sips you'll feel like you're on a tropical vacation! They go down so easily!

And everything looks much more beautiful with a rum runner in my hand.

For those who don’t know the backstory, I live in San Diego fulltime but spend two to three months per year in Aruba.


When I’m there, sunset sails are a favorite activity.

My five year old probably loves them more than my husband or I do and begs us wanting to know when we’re going again.

An open bar filled with as many virgin Pina Coladas and Shirley Temples as she can drink while dancing to hot tracks like Kokomo and the Macarena is her idea of perfect.

And the views aren’t too shabby.

The only thing better than watching her jam out is sitting back with a rum runner in hand.

I love these things so much. And they go down so fast. Too fast.

Especially in the heat.

On our last sailing adventure, I made sure to ask the bartender what’s in them and makes them so good. He gave me the drink recipe and told me the secret ingredient that makes their version so special. It’s amaretto.

Of course there are a million versions and drink recipes for rum runners and really, any time you start combining rum and juice, you’re in for good times, but this is the version I adore. Plus, I have a thing for amaretto. An amaretto sour was the first drink I ever ordered in a bar, extra cherries please.

I know that rum runners in the middle of January may not be on your mind, but I recommend changing that.

They’ll help take your mind off the winter doldrums and send you on your own little vacation in no time flat. Without even leaving home.

It’s an easy drink to make. One part Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, one part Barcadi Light Rum or another light rum and on the sunset sails they use the cheapest stuff possible to ensure maximum headache the next day; one part Malibu Rum, and one part Disaronno Amaretto

Pour the booze over ice and add four parts (or more or less based on your tastes) pineapple juice, or a combination of pineapple and orange juice, or pineapple-mango juice.

I prefer it shaken rather than stirred. You can either add a generous drizzle of grenadine to the mixture before giving it a shake; or after. After gives a prettier visual appearance because the grenadine disperses slowly and it looks all swirly and pretty. But I think it tastes better when it’s all shaken together.

If you were counting, that’s a four-shot drink. I recommend using a half-filled shot glass of each type liquor, so the final drink ends up being a two-shot drink. Unless you have an exceptional liver or have had a very bad day, then feel free to make this red gem as bold as you wish.

It’s fruity and tropical but not in a strawberry daiquiri doesn’t-do-much kind of way. It packs a punch that definitely can sneak up on you.

Don’t forget to garnish with a cherry. Or four. I love maraschino cherries.

The best kinds are the ones baked into Maraschino Cherry White Chocolate Cookies or the ones at the bottom of a drink that have been marinating and soaking up all the good stuff.

Normally I don’t eat the food I’m photographing immediately when I’m done with it. After manhandling it and playing with it for an hour, I’m not usually that interested and need a break from it.

However this, I was very interested in this.

Rum Runner
Prep time
Total time
I love drinking rum runners when I'm on vacation and this recipe comes straight from the bartender on the last sunset sailboat cruise I was on. The secret ingredient is amaretto and makes a tropical and fruity drink even better. They go down fast and easy and pack a punch. They'll put you in the vacation spirit in no time.
Serves: 1 drink & recipe is easily doubled or increased
  • 1 part Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
  • 1 part Barcardi Light Rum
  • 1 part Malibu Rum
  • 1 part Disaronno Amaretto
  • 4 parts pineapple juice, or more/less to taste (or a combination of pineapple & orange juice, or pineapple & mango juice)
  • grenadine, drizzled generously
  • maraschino cherries or orange wedges for garnishing, optional
  1. In a glass over ice, add 1 part Captain Morgan, 1 part Barcadi, 1 part Malibu, and 1 part Disaronno Amaretto. For me, 1 part equals half of one average-sized shot glass, making this a two-shot drink.
  2. Add two to four parts juice to taste, and either shake or stir, but I prefer it shaken. You can either add a generous drizzle of grenadine to the mixture before shaking; or after. After gives a prettier visual appearance because the grenadine disperses slowly and it looks pretty, but I prefer the taste when it's shaken together with the rest. Garnish and serve immediately.
  3. Recipe is intended for those whom can safely, responsibly, and legally enjoy alcohol.

Related Rum-Themed Food & Fun Drinks:

Malibu Rum Fruit Loops Treats – A blend of rum, marshmallows, and Fruit Loops. Cereal bar treats for adults with white chocolate and sprinkles

Dark Rum Oatmeal Raisin Cookies – Rum-soaked raisins are woven into the moistest, softest, most tender oatmeal cookies I’ve had

Pina Colada Dip (vegan, GF) – Make in 5 minutes and if you like coconut, pineapple, cream cheese, and sweeter dips, this is the ticket. Rum optional but recommended

No Bake Rum Cake Balls (vegan, GF) – Make in 5 minutes

Bananas Foster Shooters (vegan, GF) – A drinkable version of one of my favorite desserts

Coconut Water Champagne Fruit Punch (Vegan, Gluten Free, Soy Free, No Sugar Added) – Coconut water is rehydrating, replenishing, and helps prevent hangovers

Peach Mango Pineapple White Sangria – An easy way to bring tropical flavors to a party and stretch the alcohol

Here was our month in Aruba in August and here was our month most recently in December in case you’d like to gaze at turquoise water, plenty of no-bake bars, and white chocolate desserts, both of which I make in abundance when I’m there.

Do you have a favorite vacation drink? Or a favorite drink recipe?

Feel free to share. They come in handy for parties. Or bad days.

Happy Weekend, one day early, and hopefully the ocean pictures brightened up those long winter days.

75 comments on “Rum Runner”

  1. Oooooooh, golly I want to use my fancy luxardo cherries and make this! Amaretto makes things amazing. I just need the spiced and malibu rum.
    My favorite drink of the moment is probably still the Sazerac:

  2. Four parts booze to four parts pineapple?! Either I won’t be doing any running after this (maybe it’d be a ‘Rum Sleeper’ for me!) or the second glass would take significantly longer than three minutes prep time! And uou should post more Ariba photos, it’s such a stunning location :).

    • Well everything is to taste. You know how it is when you’re mixing a drink. You pour the booze in, top off with a splash of this or that, to taste, and enjoy. It’s hard when writing drink recipes to put an actual value to it, since everyone is different and there’s the water-down effect with the ice. But yes, it is fruity, but strong :) Or water it down with more juice. No rules here!

  3. What a beautiful drink!!! I’ve never had a rum runner, but this sounds utterly divine. Love the amaretto! Now if I could just get a sunset cruise on the side… :)

  4. My favorite vacation drink is probably sangria or an amaretto sour. I’ve never had a rum runner but pineapple juice, amaretto and rum sounds good together..and it’s a fun vehicle for maraschino cherries! I’m a lightweight with alcohol, so I’ll have to do a little downsizing on the rum amounts. My husband teases me about my low tolerance and says I don’t “train enough”. I am loving those Aruba photos (and the brightly colored drinks and goodies) right now–I think have the winter blahs and its not even Feb. yet! I have only been able to run ouside twice since Christmas and am already feeling like a little hamster running on my treadmill or in circles on the indoor track.

    • The worst part of winter in the midwest (or anywhere) is that outdoor fitness is next to impossible or very challenging and me and the treadmill are not friends. Even in San Diego, it’s been very chilly the past few weeks. In the 30s at night which is really cold for here! I used to ‘train enough’ but that all changed after becoming a mom. There’s just no time for the downtown/recovery after all that ‘training’ :) I am a total lightweight these days too!

  5. Ohhhhhh. Amaretto! That does snazz things up. I really dig an amaretto sour… this Rum Runner makes me want BEACH. Your photos are so gorgeous, by the way. That is the bluest blue I have ever ever ever seen.

  6. Oh man, talk about a headache induce the next day ;-) My husband likes spiced rums. I like them more in a daiquiri. There was this one drink I loved (too much) called the krechma (sp?). Tasted like chocolate covered cherries. Let’s just say it’s a table-top inducing type of thing b/c it goes down way too easily.

  7. I am not much of drinker, but right now in Australia the beach is the place to be and this drink will be perfect. Spice, coconut and almond reminds me of Queensland coast. Could this combination work with a black raspberry liquor or other fruity liqour?

  8. I am DEFINITELY on board with this.

  9. I went somewhere lovely in my head looking at the photos included in this post. I wish I could stay there and sip one of these cocktails. I’ve never actually had a Rum Runner but something tells me that’s about to change…

  10. A four-shot drink? Me likey!
    PS. Gorgeous photos – they make me long for a beach and beautiful clear waters!

  11. You’ve TOTALLY got me wanting to run back to Aruba. Those views are amazing. And yes, I could see how these rum runners would go down really fast! haha.

  12. i LOVE rum runners! I haven’t had one in ages. And I don’t think I’ve ever made one for myself. My kitchen “bar” (if you can call it that) consists of vodka, tequila, and margarita mix. Sometimes wine, but mostly margarita. I want to be on a yacht right now – far, far away. It’s dull, crappy, dark, and gloomy outside in Baltimore. Just “sad” looking. This would bring some pep in my step. And one too many would have me on the floor but I’m not complaining. I love fruity cocktails!! PS: I forgot about your pina colada dip. heavenly. amazing. must make.

    • The day that I made these, I realized that I didn’t have any of the alcohol on hand except the Captain. So I went to the corner liquor store at 11am and bought all these pint-ish size bottles. I was in line with some real characters in an urban corner liquor store at 11am. But I’m stocked up now and at the rate I drink at home, I probably will be well supplied for like 5 years. Lol These types of drinks are just so much better on a sailboat!

  13. I need one of these asap! I’m dreaming of a warm beach in the tropics – one of these may just transport me there for a few blissful moments!

  14. Ooh, I love the addition of amaretto!! So pretty, and I can definitely see how they go down too fast!

  15. Posting these photos in January is just mean… :-)

    In the Bahamas, we drink Goombays: light rum, dark rum, coconut rum, and apricot brandy, with a bit of pineapple juice. SO good. SO dangerous. :-)

  16. That looks wonderful, can’t wait to make this for my next get together with my neighbor. I live in Rancho Cucamonga and it has been chilly lately, this is just the thing to warm things up!

  17. My favorite vacation drink is anything with rum in it! Your Aruba pictures are just gorgeous. I was there with the family in 2006. We loved it. Have to try to get back there soon ….

  18. I am not much of a fancy mixed drink person ( more red wine kind of gal :) ) but this sounds amazing. And I don’t mind a bit a little trip to Aruba in the middle of January. Even if only in my mind! Gorgeous, Averie!

  19. Oh my goodness. I so want to be in that blue…that looks like a drink of I’d like to take a big gulp of! Okay, not really, but the sky, sand and sea looks heavenly!

  20. Amaretto is magic, I used to LOVE it when I drank. It was a requirement at any party!

  21. Oh gosh, amaretto. I need to get me a bottle of that.

  22. Those pictures are stunning! Wish I was there. I have never had a rum runner and I haven’t had a drink at all in awhile. I think a trip to the party store is in order. I’ll be making it with half shots though, I’m a bit of a lightweight. BTW, I made Rice Krispies treats in my 8 inch pan like you suggest and they were fantastic! Thanks for the tip.

  23. All of your photos are gorgeous and the drink looks delicious!

  24. Averie,
    I need a rum runner, a beach towel, and a front row seat to that amazing view! This girl needs a little sunshine right now!

  25. Oh yes, I do have a favorite vacation drink, it’s Brazilian… :) I want to dive into that water for a change! I need vacations, and I need one of your drinks, and Brazilian one too. :)

  26. tequila. i am so a tequila girl. the beaches are killing me. i am in freezin’ cold WI.

  27. Oh my gosh I want to jump into those pictures! Gorgeous!

  28. I actually never drink alcohol and that is ONLY because I just feel terribly if I do. But, my hubby likes to have his drinks every now and again and I bet he would enjoy this. I think that ANY drink on that gorgeous water and on a sailboat would be fantastic! :-)

  29. The beach and crystal clear blue water sounds amazing right now. It has been thirty five and below in Seattle the past couple of days. Since, I cant afraid a plane ticket this drink will do. Maybe, Ill get drunk enough to imagine I am somewhere warm.

  30. I need a rum runner today. It is five degrees where I am on the coast of Maine today. Triple ick.
    My favorite drink to make at home is a mojito, with lots of fresh mint and lime, a sprinkle of sugar, a shot of rum and bit of seltzer to top it off. But if I’m out, I tend to order a frozen margarita or a drink I don’t have ingredients to make at home.

  31. I have never had a rum runner… but I do love me some rum… and I do have some classy travel size bottles that I need to make use of ;) Im seeing one of these bad boys in my near future.

  32. After i read the recipe, i thought it sounded more like a mai tai drink, so i googled it. A rum runner has blackberry and banana liqueurs in it. A Mai tai has two types of rum and pine apple orange juice, almond syrup (which amaretto is a sweet almond liqueur, so you could use that instead for more umph), and a splash of grenadine.

    • Interesting! Well, hey, I wrote down what the bartender told me and what he poured in my cup and whatever name it has…it sure tastes good! It doesn’t taste like a mai tai though. I do love mai tai’s and this doesn’t taste like one. Similar, but not exactly. I’ll have to pick his brain on my next trip there.

  33. It’s no wonder we get along so well, amaretto sours were (sometimes still are!) my beverage of choice- before discovering the mojito. Okay, so I kind of like all the girly, sweet cocktails. :D

    This rum runner recipe sounds perfect. Amaretto will always have a special place in my heart.

  34. After the long week I’ve had, I could use one or three of these! Fortunately for me, my bar contains all of the ingredients you’ve listed above, so….I think I know how I’ll be spending my Saturday evening! :-) LOVE the addition of the Amaretto.

    • You have a better stocked bar that I was. Get this, I walked to the corner (urban) liquor store at 11am the morning I photographed this recipe. I was buying all this booze along side some interesting characters in the middle of the day :) Enjoy the drink & LMK if you try it!

  35. there is a bar here on cape cod called “rum runners”
    i don’t drink but i LOVE cooking with rum and cognac

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  38. Sounds so good, I will have to try!!! I have a ton of amaretto just sitting here waiting. When you mention Malibu rum, do you mean the coconut rum? How do you get so lucky as to spend so much time in Aruba? Lol were all pea green with envy!!!

  39. You had a new, loyal subscriber at rum runner, girlfriend.

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  49. I generally don’t leave comments but your rum runner sounds super yummy! Would like to suggest one addition that would kick it up a tiny notch. It is called a cherry bomb and boy is it good.
    One jar of maraschino cherries with stems on. One bottle of fireball liquor (cinnamon flavor and hot). Drain the liquid from the cherries–save to flavor other drinks if desired. Replace/fill the jar of cherries with the fireball liquor. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours before garnishing drinks with them. The longer they sit the more cinnamon flavor/heat they acquire. When you garnish a drink with them they impart a very subtle cinnamon flavor to the drink.

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