A spin on a classic summer cocktail, our Malahat Rum Runner Cocktail is as rich in history as it is flavour, and of course, rum.
Our cocktail is inspired by a time when the prohibition took hold of America, and people still found a way to enjoy their summery drinks. When you sip from this tropical drink, you’ll be transported to a Vancouver Island that many of us have forgotten about.
The History of the SS Malahat
Cases of rum stashed in the ship’s hold. Sailors hiding out in small coves. Island hopping. Evading authorities. This is the kind of swashbuckling romance that makes movies. For a period of 13 years starting in 1920, it also happened to be big business right here in our backyard. During the American prohibition years, rum-running kept a number of ships busy carrying beer, wine and spirits down the coast.
One of the most well-known of these rumrunners was the SS Malahat. The Malahat was one of twelve five-masted schooners built at the shipyards in Victoria in 1917. She started life as a logging ship, carrying lumber from the coast down to Australia. But, for the entirety of the American prohibition, she was the ‘Queen of Rum Row’. Given her large capacity, she operated as a warehouse ship. Sitting in international waters somewhere off the coast of California she would supply the smaller faster ships that fuelled the jazz age in San Francisco and Los Angeles. If you’re thirsty for more, you can learn about the history of the SS Malahat on the Port Alberni Maritime Museum website.
Now, enjoy this summer cocktail at home - no running needed!
This month we are adapting the Rum Runner summer cocktail as a nod to this unique corner of local Vancouver Island history. The classic Rum Runner cocktail was created in Key West in the 1950s, inspired by the rum runners bringing rum from Cuba to Florida.
Like a lot of tropical drinks it has rum as its base, a couple liqueurs and a bunch of juice. While we have a lovely climate here, it is still somewhat less than tropical. Pineapples and bananas don’t grow in abundance on the island, so it's going to be tricky to stay true to the original while adapting it to make it more local.
To do that we are going to strip the drink down to its core components. We are using local spirits and liqueurs and substitute the juices for a more locally appropriate fruit.
Local Devine Vineyard’s Honey Shine Amber Rum
In recent years, distillers on the island have taken up the challenge of creating local versions of most of the world’s favourite spirits. Rum is no exception. Of course, rum is made from sugar cane, and again, it’s not exactly a big cash crop in these parts. So craft distillers, being the innovative sorts they are, have adapted. The result is a spirit made from honey in the style of rum. For our cocktail, we are going to use Devine Vineyard’s Honey Shine Amber Rum. It is made with 100% local honey and aged in once-used whisky barrels.
Odd Society’s Creme de Cassis
We are going to add some fresh black currant flavour to that by using Odd Society’s Creme de Cassis. This liqueur is made with BC-grown black currants and it is bursting with delicious fresh berry flavour.
Homemade Strawberry Juice
For the juice we are swapping out pineapple juice for strawberry juice. Vancouver Island strawberries are fresh, ripe and tasty this time of year. Fresh local strawberry juice isn’t easy to find, so for this recipe we are going to make our own. You don’t need a juicer - a blender or hand mixer will do the job nicely.
To put it all together, just add a little simple syrup and lime juice. Shake it all up in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and strain into a tall glass filled with ice. This is also a great drink to make by the pitcher for easy backyard sipping with your friends this summer. Cheers to Vancouver Island history, innovative distillers, and summer cocktails!
- 1 ½ ounces Devine Honey Shine
- ½ ounce Odd society Creme de Cassis
- 1 ounce fresh lime juice
- 1 ounce strawberry juice
- Fresh fruits to garnish
For the Juice:
- 2 cups of fresh strawberries
- 1 ounces of lime juice
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 1 cup water
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add Honey Shine, Creme de Cassis, lime juice and strawberry juice. Shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds and strain into a tall glass filled with ice. Garnish with fresh fruit.
For the strawberry juice, wash, trim and quarter strawberries. Add strawberries, lime juice and sugar to the blender and puree. Add water and blend until well mixed. Fine strain through a mesh sieve to remove seed and foam. Keep refrigerated.
Devine Honey Shine Amber
Made from 100% local honey; fermented, distilled, and aged on site in once-used casks. Soft caramel notes with a backbone of wood barrel spices. A rich mouthfeel identical to rum, with notes of Bourbon and Cognac. Finishing with a call-back to its namesake, honey.
Odd Society Creme De Cassis
This blackcurrant liqueur is a French classic and often served as a digestif or in cocktails. Try a splash of it in white wine or champagne, or even on top of ice cream..