When it comes to cocktail recipes, there are subtle choices, and then there are heavy hitters. The Hurricane falls squarely into this latter category.
How hard does this one hit? Well, let’s start with the half cup of dark and white rum that serves as the foundation of this beast. That packs a nice little punch, and the punch just gets punchier when you add passion fruit puree, orange juice, lime juice, simple syrup, and grenadine.
Below, we’ll look at the story behind this sweet, boozy cocktail (hint: it did actually result from a surplus of rum). Then you’ll learn how to make your very own Hurricane…though; whether it’s a Category 1 or 5 is up to you.
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The History of the Hurricane
It may surprise you to learn that the Hurricane came about not just from the inspiration of a bartender but also from the economic forces of supply and demand.
The southern United States has been the launchpad for several legendary cocktails such as the Mint Julep, Sazerac, Bushwacker, and others. While the Hurricane is another such creation, there’s a legend that the first one was actually served in Queens, New York.
The occasion was the 1939 New York World’s Fair, and the drink was supposedly slung at the Hurricane Bar. The only known details of this event are that the drink supposedly contained rum and was served in a Hurricane glass.
It’s hard to prove or disprove this legend. However, we can definitively trace the Hurricane to New Orleans, where a bar named Pat O’Brien’s was dealing with a curious shortage of liquor. By now, it was the mid-1940s, and World War II had just ended. If you think the coronavirus disrupted global supply chains, try a world war — liquor like Scotch whiskey and bourbon were practically impossible to get if you were a barkeep.
One liquor faced no such shortages, though: rum.
Rum, Rum Everywhere
Particularly for a bar in New Orleans, rum was everywhere. The city’s location at the mouth of the Mississippi River meant that barge after barge arrived at its shores carrying rum. That wasn’t all; the Caribbean, where rum is made from fermented cane sugar, lies just to the south of New Orleans. Ships carrying it also arrived frequently from the south.
Distributors of spirits got creative during this time, offering deals in which a bar would be required to purchase multiple cases of rum in order to obtain a single case of whiskey. While bartenders were not especially grateful to be cornered in this way, they had little choice but to accept.
Naturally, their stockrooms quickly became flooded with rum. And when all you have is rum, a rum cocktail you must make.
At Pat O’Brien’s, partners Benson “Pat” O’Brien and Charlie Cantrell decided it was time to deal with the excess of rum creatively. They needed to get rid of all their rum. The best way would be to create a delicious cocktail, and so the two began experimenting to find something that would do the job.
The success of the Hurricane lives on to this day. It’s popular across the south, and Pat O’Brien’s continues to serve it today — over half a million glasses each year, in case you were wondering.
Travel to New Orleans today, and you may even see people drinking a Hurricane out in the streets of the French Quarter, where public drinking is legal.
How to Make the Perfect Hurricane Cocktail
Now comes the time to make your own Hurricane. Below you’ll find ingredients, tech specs, and instructions on how to whip it together.
- Prep Time 5 Minutes
- Cook Time 5 Minutes
- Total Time 10 Minutes
- Serves 1 People
- Calories 280 kcal
- 2 fl. oz. dark rum
- 2 fl. oz. light rum
- 1 fl. oz. fresh-squeezed lime juice
- 1 fl. oz. fresh-squeezed orange juice
- ½ fl. oz. passion fruit puree
- ½ fl. oz. simple syrup
- 1 tsp. Grenadine
- 1 half-wheel of orange for garnish
- 1 preserved cherry for garnish
- Start by filling a shaker with ice.
- Pour in all the liquids: the dark and light rums, the orange juice, the lime juice, the passion fruit puree, the grenadine, and simple syrup.
- Shake the whole mixture until it’s thoroughly chilled.
- Strain everything into a large Hurricane glass with fresh ice.
- Add your half-wheel of orange and a preserved cherry for garnish for style points.