Hurricane cocktail has stormy history

Originally given away to get rid of cheap rum

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It is said that no trip to New Orleans is complete without a trip to Pat O'Brien's, where your first drink must be the bar's classic cocktail: the Hurricane. While the drink will set you back a pretty penny these days, it wasn't always that way.

During Prohibition, O'Brien's pub was one of the many speakeasies that lined New Orleans streets, plying their trade with sailors and others in search of illicit liquid refreshment. The password was "storm's brewin,'" according to most accounts of the time, which admittedly may be embellished.

After Prohibition ended, New Orleans began to blossom into the rum-soaked, bead-festooned party town we today know and love, but it's that very rum that had O'Brien in a pickle. His liquor distributors forced him to buy huge quantities of cheap, low-quality rum before they would sell him the more upscale (and highly profitable) tipples such as scotch and bourbon. He masked the vile taste of the cheap hooch with fruit juice and grenadine and gave it away for free to sailors, who of course became his best advertisers. Some accounts say that the hurricane lamp-shaped glasses actually were originally the chimneys for hurricane lamps that O'Brien found for cheap and had sealed on one end.

If you visit New Orleans and want to walk around while drinking your Hurricane, you won't be able to do so in the iconic glass. While New Orleans laws do allow walking the streets while drinking, they do not allow doing so while carrying glass containers.

Incidentally, on Barbados there's also a Hurricane cocktail, but it's a quite different creation, a potent mix of coffee liqueur, 151-proof rum, Grand Marnier and Irish cream.

Want to make your own Hurricane at home? Here's the recipe!

1.5 oz. light rum

1.5 oz. dark rum

1 oz. orange juice

1 oz. fresh lime juice

ΒΌ c. passion fruit juice, or 1 tablespoon passion fruit syrup

1 tsp. superfine sugar

1 tsp. grenadine

Cherries with stems, and orange slice to garnish

Ice cubes

In a cocktail shaker, mix the rum, passion fruit juice or syrup, other juices and the sugar until sugar is dissolved. Add the grenadine and stir to combine. Add ice and shake. Half-fill a hurricane glass (or other tall vessel) with ice. Strain drink into glass. Add ice to fill. Garnish with orange slice and cherries.

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