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It was March. I had taken a week off from everything-checked out. I needed to shed the layers upon layers of habit and responsibility that kept me from writing that book. I booked a flight to the western coast of Florida with surprisingly little research into destinations. All I wanted was a beach and a quiet room with a balcony upon which to write. I did not set out to write about rum drink recipes. However if I am to write a book about the topic, the title will be, “the Rum Runner.”
Leaving the cold gray streets, still covered in the dirty sand and salt of another harsh upper Midwest winter, I boarded the plane pointing due south. I ordered my usual bloody Mary and prayed that my flight neighbors would leave me alone.
Stepping off the plane, I was welcomed by palm trees, blinding sun, and the smell of the ocean. Grinning like a kid, I felt twenty pounds lighter. I hopped into the rental car and drove to the beach. For a moment, it seemed like that pirate on the Captain Morgan’s billboard’s eye followed me…
Finding my way to the room after a walk to the waters edge, I went straight to work on the book. It went well, but I could hear the waves and smell the sea, and tanning lotion….
Rum Runner Drink Recipe
or: Why the book did not get written
I consider myself to be a person with good focus. I’ve learned to work through distractions. But, as Herman Melville observed,
Inlanders all, they come from lanes and alleys, streets avenues—north, east, south, and west. Yet here they all unite. Tell me, does the magnetic virtue of the needles of the compasses of all those ships attract them thither?
The pull of that great sea was too much distraction. I put down my pen and told myself that a short break would benefit my writing. I strolled down the beach and stopped at a grass-covered tiki bar. It was a hot sunny day and I was thirsty. “Got any good rum drink recipes? I’m feeling tropical,” I asked the barkeep.
“Rum Runner,” was his singular response.
“Excuse me?” I hadn’t shaved and wore the shorts I’d had on for a few days, but I didn’t think I looked like someone who ran illegal rum for a living.
“The Rum Runner -It’s our best rum drink. The locals love it and so do the tourists.”
“Hit me up!” He then proceeded to handle what seemed to be every bottle and variety of rum in the place. I thought I saw some juice go in the drink too.
“Be careful. These taste like fresh juice, but they’ll knock you on your butt.”
Oh my God.
This thing tasted like heaven. In that hot sun it was so quenching that I don’t think it even reached my stomach. Obviously I’d need another. He was quick to deliver. Obviously he knew his way around rum drink recipes. That brightly colored drink with its bouquet of orange slice and cherry- it seemed to say, “welcome to the beach. Your troubles are over now.”
The bartender looked a bit surprised as he turned to find another empty glass. “I don’t know why they call ’em rum runners- they sure don’t last long! One more please”
“You’re not driving are you?” Nope. And so the trip took a delicious turn.
Some have postulated that Hemingway’s greatest work was not what he wrote, but the life that he lived. I decided to go with that.
Rum Drink Recipes
After hounding the poor bastard for weeks, I finally got the bartender to give up the rum runner drink recipe. He shared it under the condition that I not disclose the famous bar where it is served, or who he was. For that reason, I have taken some artistic liberty in the telling of this story.
1 oz Parrot Bay orange flavored rum
1 oz each; pineapple, coconut, and mango flavored rums
1 oz each; orange, pineapple, and cranberry juices
Pour all ingredients over ice, shake vigorously, and serve in a tall glass. Garnish with orange slice and maraschino cherry. Repeat as needed.
Rum is like a trojan horse disguised as fruit juice
Found a nice peanut butter banana smoothie recipe that might be good with rum…