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Rum Runner vs Hurricane: What’s the Difference?

Ah, tropical cocktails.

What could be better than sipping on classic island drinks while soaking up the sun and enjoying a beautiful beach view?

We’ve all heard of some of our favorites like Pina Coladas, Daiquiris, Mai Tais, and Painkillers.

But two lesser-known tiki drinks have been around for ages – the Rum Runner and the Hurricane – with many wondering what sets them apart from each other.

Without needing to jet-set off to an exotic location to get these iconic beverages, let’s travel through time together as we unravel some curious similarities and differences in this rum showdown.

What is a Rum Runner?

Rum Runner is a cocktail with a wild past.

It comes from the Prohibition era in the US.

It’s made with tropical fruit juices, rum, and sometimes grenadine or bitters.

It’s popular for hiding the taste of bootlegged liquor.

But, it’s not just about its history.

It has a delicious flavor too.

The rum and fruit juices make a great mix.

Sweet fruit and bold rum balance each other perfectly.

Grenadine or bitters add even more depth.

It’s not just a tasty drink.

It’s a reminder of a time of rebellion.

Rum Runners would smuggle rum from Caribbean islands to the US.

They used fast boats to outrun law enforcement.

This daring act gave the cocktail an extra edge.

What is a Hurricane?

A hurricane is a powerful and destructive tropical storm.

It has strong winds, heavy rain, and thunderstorms.

It forms over warm ocean waters and can cause destruction to coastal areas.

The winds reach speeds of over 74 mph, destroying buildings, trees, and power lines.

Its swirling motion is caused by the Earth’s rotation and heat energy from the ocean surface.

Hurricanes are classified into categories, with Category 5 being the strongest.

They often cause storm surges, which are large walls of water that can flood coastal regions.

Origins of Rum Runner and Hurricane Cocktails

Rum Runner and Hurricane cocktails have a fascinating history.

Both drinks were created in different spots, but during the same time period.

The Rum Runner was concocted in Florida during prohibition.

It was made to mask the strong taste of smuggled rum with fruit juices.

It soon became a symbol of holiday fun.

The Hurricane cocktail was born in New Orleans.

Its name was inspired by the curved design of hurricane lamps.

With its blend of rum, fruit juices and grenadine syrup, it enticed locals and tourists alike.

Though both cocktails are rum-based, they have unique ingredients and looks.

The Rum Runner has an intense combo of pineapple, banana and spiced blackberry liqueur.

The Hurricane has passion fruit syrup, lemon juice and light rum.

Ingredients Used in Rum Runner and Hurricane Cocktails

The Rum Runner and Hurricane both have special ingredients that make them so tasty.

The Rum Runner has rum, blackberry liqueur, banana liqueur, orange juice, and grenadine.

The Hurricane cocktail has rum, passion fruit syrup/juice, lemon juice, and grenadine.

Rum is the base of both cocktails.

But, the addition of different fruity liqueurs and juices give them unique flavors and experiences.

It’s amazing how small changes in ingredients can make such delightful drinks.

1 – Rum

Rum – a distinct alcoholic beverage, crafted from sugarcane.

It brings sophistication to any gathering, with its sweet, warm undertones.

Its popularity is rooted in Caribbean culture and its versatility in cocktails.

Different types of rum are available in the market.

Light or dark rum, each type has its own unique profile perfect for different palates.

Moreover, an interesting aspect of rum is the aging process.

Like whiskey, it’s aged in oak barrels and charred casks, developing complex flavors and aromas.

This elevates the drinking experience and allows for an exploration of rum.

2 – Fruit Juices

Fruit juices are essential for both Rum Runner and Hurricane cocktails.

These drinks have a refreshing taste and bright flavor.

Juices give the beverage a natural sweetness and make it more complex.

Rum Runner cocktails often feature orange juice, pineapple juice, and banana puree.

These juices give the drink a tropical feel, plus a tangy citrusy note, tropical sweetness, and creamy texture.

Hurricane cocktails normally include passion fruit juice and lime juice.

Passion fruit juice has a unique tropical flavor with tartness and sweetness.

Lime juice adds a zing that balances the sweetness of other ingredients.

Rum Runner and Hurricane cocktails have different ingredients.

Rum Runner has dark and light rum, plus liqueurs like blackberry and grenadine.

Hurricane cocktails often include dark rum, passion fruit syrup or liqueur, grenadine syrup, and maybe vodka or gin.

3 – Additional Ingredients and Garnishes

Rum Runner and Hurricane cocktails offer lots of ingredients and garnishes.

They share some things like fruit juices and sweeteners.

But each has a unique twist.

Rum Runner often has banana liqueur and blackberry brandy.

This gives it a tropical, fruity flavor.

The Hurricane has passion fruit syrup and orange juice.

This makes it tangy and refreshing.

These ingredients make them distinct.

They offer a wide variety of flavors for cocktail lovers.

Flavor Profile and Taste Comparison

Rum Runner and Hurricane are both tropical cocktails.

But, they have different flavors.

The Rum Runner has a mix of rum, fruit juices, and grenadine, yielding a fruity and sweet taste.

On the opposite side, the Hurricane has rum, passion fruit syrup, lemon juice, and grenadine, making a tangy and tropical flavor that leaves a refreshing aftertaste.

These two drinks have some same ingredients, but different proportions and combinations.

Each has its own unique appeal that fits different preferences.

Perfect for beach-side or tropical-themed parties.

With their vibrant flavors and tantalizing aromas, just one sip of a Rum Runner or Hurricane will transport you to a tropical paradise.

Sweetness Level in Rum Runner and Hurricane Cocktails

Rum Runner and Hurricane cocktails have different sweetness levels.

This can affect their taste.

It is important to understand how the sweetness differs.

Rum Runners are known for being sweet and flavourful.

The mix of rum, banana liqueur, blackberry brandy, and grenadine syrup, gives it a fruity taste that appeals to those with a sweet tooth.

Orange and pineapple juices add even more sweetness.

Hurricane cocktails, created in New Orleans, have a light sweetness from passion fruit syrup and lemon juice.

The tartness from the lemon juice balances the sweetness, giving it a refreshing taste.

It depends on personal preference when deciding between these two cocktails.

Some people might find the Rum Runner too sweet, while others might prefer the balance of flavors in a Hurricane.

Similarities Between Rum Runner and Hurricane Cocktails

Rum Runner and Hurricane cocktails have some things in common.

They both represent the Caribbean with their vibrant flavor combinations.

Both are a mix of rum, juices, and sweeteners, giving a refreshing and flavorful experience.

The base of both drinks is rum.

But each features a different type of rum.

Rum Runner uses light and dark, while Hurricane uses mostly dark.

These cocktails both use fruit juices like orange, pineapple, and grenadine.

This adds a tropical sweetness.

Sweeteners like banana liqueur or blackberry brandy are used for the Rum Runner.

The Hurricane cocktail has passion fruit syrup or simple syrup.

These two cocktails have differences in their ingredients and flavor.

But they both give a taste of the tropics.

With their bright colors, tropical flavors, and intoxicating mixtures, they make you feel like you are on an island getaway.

Rum Runner and Hurricane cocktails are distinguished by popular variations and regional preferences.

Each region offers its own unique twist, providing a range of flavors and ingredients.

For example, Rum Runner in the Caribbean is made with dark rum, banana liqueur, and tropical fruit juices, making it sweet and fruity.

While, the Hurricane cocktail from New Orleans includes light and dark rum, passion fruit syrup, lemon juice, and grenadine, creating a tangy blend that complements its jazz scene.

Rum Runner stands out with blackberry liqueur, pineapple juice, orange juice, and grenadine, giving it a tropical feel.

In contrast, Hurricane cocktail has a harmonious citrus and sweetness from lemon juice and passion fruit syrup.

Serving styles add to the drinks’ character.

Rum Runner is typically served over ice in a highball glass or hurricane glass, showing off its colorful layers.

On the other hand, Hurricane cocktail is served in an elongated hurricane lamp-like glass and garnished with fruit slices or cherries.


While the Rum Runner and Hurricane may appear similar, they are two very distinct drinks with different flavor profiles.

A well-made Rum Runner should have a good balance of rich rum, sweet liqueurs, tart citrus juices, and bright soda water.

Whereas a Hurricane should taste slightly sweet due to its use of syrups or grenadine, it will also contain strong notes of citrus due to its lime juice, passion fruit syrup, and orange juice.

Whether you decide to reach for a Rum Runner or a Hurricane is ultimately up to you – just make sure to know your ingredients before indulging so you can understand the various subtleties that comprise these two popular drinks.

With these tips in mind, it’s time to grab your favorite spirits and start experimenting with these Caribbean cocktails.

Rum Runner vs Hurricane: What’s the Difference?

Andrew Gray
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course This vs That


  • Rum Runner
  • Hurricane


  • Choose between a Rum Runner and a Hurricane cocktail based on your preference.
  • Follow the recipe instructions for your chosen cocktail, ensuring you have the necessary ingredients.
  • Mix the ingredients together in a shaker or glass, adjusting the quantities to your taste.
  • Shake or stir well to combine the flavors.
  • Pour the cocktail into a glass filled with ice.
  • Garnish with a slice of fruit or a cocktail umbrella, if desired.
  • Sip and enjoy the tropical flavors of your Rum Runner or Hurricane cocktail.
  • Experiment with different variations and ingredients to create your perfect tropical drink.
Keyword Rum Runner vs Hurricane
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