Running Rum with Rum Runners

On Monday, my last full day in Florida, I took a “Greg Day”.

Some people go to a spa on the days they decide to check out. Golf is popular. Reading books, taking a hike in the woods or sleeping in all make the list.

For me a typical “Greg Day” would revolve around food. Eating food. Cooking food. Talking about the food you are going to eat and cook while you are eating and cooking the food you are actually eating and cooking. This is relaxing to me.

But on this “Greg Day” I was still wired-off from the food I love. Though I could tell my broken jaw had pretty much healed. It’s funny how your body sends signals. The signal I was getting was clear: BROKEN JAW IS ALL BETTER PLEASE REMOVE BOLTS!

But I was in Florida and my doctor is in California. The bolts were not going anywhere!

sippitysup goes to the beachSo I decided to while away the last wretched hours of my oral internment in an enjoyable manner as possible. I chose laying on a white-sand beach, on a delightfully sunny and warm summer’s day, with one of the people I love best in this world– while pounding down rum drinks. After all this is Florida. Floridians have “Greg Days” (or their version of it) almost everyday of the week. All Floridians either live at the beach or at Disney World. Every day is a holiday. I read this in the World Almanac.

So I tried to think of the most Floridian of all drinks possible. And though I saw quite a few sad fools drinking vile, nasty Milwaukee’s Best beer. I refused to believe that any Floridians drank the stuff. So I wracked my brain and came up with the idea to order a Rum Runner Cocktail.

Rum Runner Cocktails were invented in the late 1950’s at the Holiday Isle Tiki Bar in Islamorada, Florida. It’s name comes from the prohibition; when the demand for liquor, of most any quality, predictably rose. When demand is high, niche markets are born. This is economics at it most basic.

Rum was (and is) a product of the islands. So a specialized brand of “importer” was needed. These men and women used the Florida Keys as their illegal port of entry. These smugglers and their colorful occupation gave this cocktail its name: The Rum Runner.

It’s understandably a standard in the keys, and well-admired throughout the Sunshine State. I am not too sure how well known the beverage is north of Tallahassee. But most bartenders in Florida are born with the recipe tattooed on their butts.

sippitysup's feetThe sun was quite intense that day. And a Rum Runner is a rather potent mix of 4 liquors, including 2 kinds of rum. And I hope you have not forgotten that Sups! working at a jaw induced 20 pound disadvantage as you can see from these scarecrow legs!

So my afternoon of pounding down rum drinks got slightly amended to mean 2 cool ones with plenty of ice spread over 4 or 5 hours, while drifting around in the sea-green, body temperature waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

I am now back in California as I write this. I have been unbolted for 2 hours and 12 minutes. What a difference a day makes! Because here I am drifting around on an entirely different sort of pain-killer. Still, it’s easy to think back to that very nice “Greg Day” in Florida. I can still hear the waves lapping and the palm fronds swaying. I must have run that rum at just the right speed!

Rum Runner SERVES 1

rum runner on the beach

  • 2 oz orange juice
  • 2 oz light rum
  • 3/4 oz blackberry brandy
  • 3/4 oz banana liqueur
  • 1 t grenadine
  • ice cubes
  • 1 oz dark rum
  • 2 oz pineapple juice

Pour all liquids except dark rum into a large glass. Fill the the glass with ice cubes and stir vigorously. Float the dark rum on top and stir gently.


Greg Henry