A Hurricane is a bit like a Long Island Iced Tea — you can order one almost anywhere, but you never know quite what you're going to get.
This year, for Mardi Gras, do yourself a favor and sample the original (and, in my opinion, best) version of this classic New Orleans cocktail. A true hurricane does not contain grenadine, pineapple juice, or vodka. It is not made from a mix. It is not served in a giant plastic cup. The original hurricane had three ingredients: dark rum, passion fruit syrup, and lemon juice. That's it.
The hurricane, like all good cocktails, has its origin myth. As the story goes, when Pat O'Brien's, the legendary New Orleans bar, opened its doors post prohibition, there was a serious glut of rum on the market. Forced by liquor wholesalers to order a case of rum with every case of other kinds of spirits, the owners had to get creative, and the hurricane was born.
It's a wonderfully simple little drink, essentially a rum sour with passion fruit syrup as the sweetening agent. (It's also quite different, I can attest, from the hurricanes being served at Pat O'Brien's in our modern era.) All that syrup makes this quite a sweet drink, but the lemon juice holds it in balance nicely, and the rum gives it a molasses-y kick. Laissez les bons temps rouler.
The Original Hurricane
from Beachbum Berry Remixed, via GumboPages.
2 oz dark rum
1 oz passion fruit syrup
1 oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker over ice. Shake and strain into an ice-filled glass. (The original recipe calls for crushed ice, but I prefer this with cubed, since the drink doesn't get diluted as quickly.) Garnish with an orange slice and cherry.
So what if you want to make a whole pitcher of hurricanes? I'm glad you asked.
The Original Hurricane (pitcher drink recipe)
1 bottle (750 mL) dark rum
1 1/2 cups passion fruit syrup
1 1/2 cups fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 cup of ice
Combine all ingredients, including the ice, in a pitcher. Stir to mix the ingredients. Allow to sit for at least 15 minutes before serving to allow the ice to melt into the drink. Prepare for a good party.
P.S. Having trouble finding passion fruit syrup where you live? You can always order it on Amazon.
Nancy Mitchell will always love New Orleans. You can find more recipes and musings on her blog, The Backyard Bartender.
(Images: Nancy Mitchell)