When is the last time you had a pawpaw? Have you ever had one of these mango-like fruits? They're rare, but they do grow in several regions of the U.S., including southeastern Ohio. When I was there in the spring visiting the Hocking Hills region, my group had dinner at Kindred Spirits, a fine dining establishment inside the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls. One of the cocktails served during the evening was a Pawpaw Rum Runner.

It was such a good and unusual drink that I asked if I could share the recipe with my readers. I waited until now to share it because late summer is pawpaw season, and your chances of finding fresh pawpaws to make this cocktail are best now. You have to plan ahead for this drink. Not only will you have to find pawpaws, but you'll have to infuse rum with pawpaw fruit a few days before you make the drinks. You'll also have to make a pawpaw puree, so load up on pawpaws when you find them.

How to make pawpaw puree

Pawpaw puree is not difficult to make. You'll need two tablespoons of puree for each cocktail so make sure you've made enough puree for all the drinks you plan on making.

  1. Skin and remove the seeds from ripe pawpaws (see the video above for tips!).
  2. Cut the fruit into chunks and puree in a blender or food processor until it's pureed.

How to infuse rum with pawpaws

A good bottle of white rum and a about a pint of pawpaws, plus a couple of days, is all you'll need to make this easy infusion.

  1. Peel and seed about a pint of pawpaws and cut them into a chunks.
  2. Put them into a large glass container with a lid on and pour a 750 ml bottle of a good white rum over the fruit.
  3. Secure the lid tightly and put in a dark place for about two days.
  4. Strain the fruit out, and you'll have pawpaw infused rum. Store in a glass container with a lid.

How to make a Pawpaw Rum Runner

Prep Time: 5 minutes, plus the do-ahead time of making puree and infused rum

Total time: 5 minutes
Yield: 1 cocktail


  • Juice from 1/4 of a lime
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon pawpaw puree
  • 2 oz. pawpaw infused rum


  1. Muddle the juice, light brown sugar and puree together in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Add a cup of ice and the rum.
  3. Shake vigorously and pour the entire contents into a rocks glass filled with ice.
  4. Garnish with a lime slice, if desired.

Although this is a seasonal drink, the pawpaw infused rum will keep indefinitely, like any liquor. You can also freeze the pawpaw puree in two tablespoon portions so you can make this drink any time of the year.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Pawpaw Rum Runner
Try this seasonal recipe for a cocktail created at the Inn at Cedar Falls in Ohio.