Drinking a Hurricane cocktail at Pat O’Brien’s is a rite of passage for first-time visitors to New Orleans. However, you can craft a better version of the fruity cocktail at home no matter where you live. Read on for the full story and recipe.
Born in a city known for its sophisticated cocktail culture, the Hurricane stands out from the pack.
For starters, it’s popular with hoards of tourists who join the nightly party at Pat O’Brien’s, the bar where the Hurricane was invented.
Then there’s the Hurricane’s potency. With ingredients like dark rum, light rum and three different juices, the fruity, boozy Hurricane is dangerously easy to drink.
Some might say too easy.
And, finally, the Hurricane is a cocktail that literally has its own glass. Big enough to hold at least 20 ounces and cylindrical in shape, the Hurricane’s glass is as famous as the cocktail itself.
What Is A Hurricane Cocktail?
The popular version of the Hurricane is big, boozy and fruity-tooty.
Tourists sip the cocktail in colorful plastic cups as they stumble around the French Quarter. Frat boys down Hurricanes by the dozen at Pat O’Brien’s during Mardi Gras, New Year’s Eve, Jazz Fest or just about any time of the year.
It would be easy to discount that version of the Hurricane made with a sugar-filled mix and cheap rum. But that’s not the original Hurricane nor the one that we adore.
While we don’t follow the original Hurricane recipe when we craft Hurricanes at home, we channel the cocktail’s original spirit by using two rums and as many natural ingredients as possible. The resulting potent potable is refreshingly sweet, surprisingly complex and a pleasure to imbibe.
History Of The Hurricane Cocktail
Pat O’Brien (the man) originally crafted the Hurricane in New Orleans during the 1940s. Almost a century later, the red rum drink is just as popular today at Pat O’Brien’s (the bar) as when sailors originally slurped the drink in glasses shaped like hurricane lamps.
Records reveal that O’Brien’s original Hurricane cocktail had just three ingredients – gold rum, lemon juice and Fassionola syrup. The entrepreneurial New Orleans barman apparently starting making the iconic drink in an effort to use up excess bottles of rum. Whether serving them in hurricane lamp-shaped glasses was a stroke of marketing genius or dumb luck remains a mystery.
The modern rendition of the Hurricane sold at Pat O’Brien’s isn’t what it used to be. Frassinola syrup made with a melange of fruit isn’t exactly easy to find these days. The bar crafts Hurricanes en mass using a proprietary mix that’s for sale at the bar as well as online.
We say go to the bar but don’t buy the mix. And don’t stay too long. The experience involves lounging in an outdoor courtyard with a view of a multi-colored flaming fountain so it’s not all bad. Plus, drinking a mass produced Pat O’Brien’s Hurricane will motivate you to craft a more classic Hurricane cocktail at home which isn’t bad at all.
Our Hurricane recipe includes a list of ingredients that should be easy to source with one possible exception. Here’s the full list:
Not everybody can easily find fresh passion fruit or even passion fruit juice and that’s okay. Another option is to buy passion fruit purée or passion fruit syrup.
Since we have easy access to fresh passion fruit, we chose to make fresh passion fruit juice with a hand blender. This extra step took us about five minutes and involved removing the pulp (seeds and all) from the skin, adding water, blending, straining and adding a bit of simple syrup.
The result was tasty and surprisingly earthy. Using fresh juice made a noticeable difference. However, purée and syrup are are both valid options if you don’t have access to fresh passion fruit or if you’re not inspired to make passion fruit juice at home.
Our Hurricane cocktail recipe includes two liquors and they’re both rums.
For the light rum, we used Bacardi Carta Blanca since that’s what we have in our liquor cabinet. Distilled in Puerto Rico, this popular rum has a 37.5% ABV.
However, we bought a bottle of Appleton Estate Reserve Blend specifically for this recipe. With more complex flavors, the dark Jamaican rum has a 40% ABV. We’ll be sipping this bottle of rum for a while.
Discover our favorite rum cocktails.
Monin produces our preferred grenadine in France. The company doesn’t add any artificial colors or flavors to its bright red pomegranate syrup. It’s the next best thing to using grenadine made from scratch.
Discover our favorite grenadine cocktails.
How to Craft A Hurricane Cocktail
The first step in this recipe is to measure the the two rums, three juices, grenadine and simple syrup. We use a Japanese jigger for these and other measurements to ensure accurate measurements and avoid spillage.
Pour the liquids directly into your cocktail shaker as you measure each. We use a Boston Shaker for this and other recipes since it doesn’t leak and is easy to clean.
Add ice and shake for 20 seconds.
This step will both combine and chill the ingredients.
Strain the cocktail into a Hurricane glass.
Add an orange slice and a maraschino cherry as garnish.
While you could hypothetically use a highball glass instead of a Hurricane glass, the cocktail just won’t be the same. When it comes to this colorful New Orleans cocktail, the drink and the glass are a package deal.
Discover more colorful cocktails.
We empathize if you can’t find easily find passion fruit juice or if you simply want to experiment with your bottles of rum. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Discover 10 essential bar tools for the home mixologist.
The Hurricane was invented in New Orleans.
Pat O’Brien’s is the bar most associated with the Hurricane. This bar is located in the French Quarter in New Orleans.
Dark Rum, Light Rum, Passion Fruit Juice, Orange Juice, Lime Juice, Grenadine, Simple Syrup, Orange Slice (garnish), Maraschino Cherry (garnish) and Ice Cubes
The Hurricane is shaken, not stirred.
We like to serve this cocktail in a hurricane glass and you should do the same.
Did you craft this cocktail? If so, please rate the recipe below.
- Combine white rum, dark rum, passion fruit juice, orange juice, lime juice, grenadine and simple syrup a shaker.
- Add ice and shake vigorously for approximately 20 seconds until the drink is properly chilled and blended.
- Strain into a hurricane glass filled with ice.
- Add a maraschino cherry and orange twist as garnish.
- You can use a highball glass if you don’t have a hurricane glass.
- We squeezed our juices from fresh fruit but you can use juice from the grocery store.
Thirsty For More New Orleans Cocktails?
About The Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on their website 2foodtrippers. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers a unique taste of the world.
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Original Publication Date: February 11, 2022