Mixology Monday: New Orleans

by Matt Robold on July 28, 2008

Home safe and sound from Tales of the Cocktail, and I’m still nowhere near caught up in all of my writing…or my detox.  It was a dizzyingly enjoyable trip that included a lot of different cocktails that are special to the city that calls itself “The Birthplace of the Cocktail”.  I sat in bars with bartenders, industry people, and fellow bloggers drinking Sazeracs, Absinthe Suisses, Vieux Carres, French 75’s, and a littany of other fine drinks…and for this month’s Mixology Monday, Paul Clarke has chosen to honor the New Orleans cocktail experience by naming New Orleans as the theme.  You can catch the round-up at the Cocktail Chronicles.

So many classic and fantastic cocktails to choose from, I spent some serious time debating which one should be my submission.  Then I stumbled across this photo from Tales:
Bloggers Drinking Hurricanes

That’s right.  A collection of self-proclaimed cocktail snobs participating in the holy ritual of drinking Hurricanes at Pat O’Brien’s on Bourbon Street.  We didn’t do it because we wanted to do it, we did it because people always say that when you’re in NOLA, you HAVE to have a Hurricane at Patty-O’s. 

The Hurricane was invented at Pat O’Brien’s during World War II.  There was a shortage of whiskey and a gluttony of rum available for making drinks.  So the industrious folks at Patty-O’s came up with a drink that would allow them to sell drinks with rum in them.  They served them in hurricane lamps, and a New Orleans tradition was born!

The only problem with this ritual is that the Hurricanes there are…well…horrid.  They’re sickly sweet (dare I use the blogger hot-word “cloying”?), spiritually weak, and just all-around bad.  It’s the nectar of the college tourist.  The drink of the non-discriminating palate.  I believe the scientific term is “swill” (on a side note, the good news on those drinks is that they ended up being free).

So my choice was made for me, I had to go storm chasing and make a great Hurricane.

I figured I’d start at the bottom and work my way up.  So I went and looked up the recipe for Pat O’Brien’s Hurricane on their very own website:

Pat O’Brien’s Hurricane

4 oz Pat O’Brien’s Hurricane Rum or a good dark rum
4 oz Pat O’Brien’s Hurricane Mix

Mix ingredients in a 26 oz. hurricane glass, fill with curshed ice, garnish with an orange and a cherry.

Needless to say, this is a recipe I cannot recreate.  I don’t have any of the Patty-O’s rum or hurricane mix – and I am not ashamed of this fact at all.  “Proud” would be a better word.

Moving right along to recipes worth trying, I searched the Internet and various bar books to discover that whatever the Hurricane originally was, it has since been so tinkered with and abused that there doesn’t seem to be a definitive recipe available.  So I cracked open one of my “free with purchase” bar books that litter my countertop and located a recipe that seemed to have some promise.

Hurricane #1

1.5 oz Dark Rum
1 oz Light Rum
1.5 oz fresh orange juice
1 oz fresh lime juice
1oz pineapple juice
.5 oz passion fruit syrup
1 dash Angostura bitters

Combine ingredient in a shaker with ice, shake and strain into a glass with crushed ice.  Garnish with a pineapple wedge and a lime wedge.

I still lack an ice crusher, so I did the best I could with a mallet-like device and a plastic bag full of ice.  I mixed the ingredients and tried the drink.  It was OK.  It wasn’t too sweet.  It wasn’t too sour.  It wasn’t too good.  It was incredibly weak and nothing really stood out about it.  It tasted like one of those Dole “Orange-Pineapple-Strawberry-Lemon-Mango-Bamboo” juice drinks you can buy in the grocery store.

Of course, looking at the proportions, it’s rather obvious that the spirit in this isn’t all that much.  I should have probably read the top of the page on this recipe:

The original hurricane was superpotent, with double the rum….  If you wish to attempt the classic formula, do so at your own risk.

Oh.  Right.  We can’t have anyone tasting their rum.  What was I thinking?

No more fooling around.  I went back and found Jeff Berry’s recommended recipe for a Hurricane, which is both simple and potent.

Jeff “Beachbum” Berry’s Hurricane

2 oz Dark Jamaican Rum
1 oz lemon juice
1 oz passion fruit syrup

Shake with ice, strain into a glass with crushed ice.

Simple.  Elegant.  Straight-forward.  I mixed the drink and poured it into a new glass.  The flavor profile is a universe away from the first recipe.  The flavors are strong and the drink was rather tart.  It may be that I had an extra-sour lemon, or that there’s something “off” with my passion fruit syrup, but this drink was puckery.

I had a few sips and decided it needed just a minor tweak to balance the sour flavor.  Luckily I had just been to Hi Time and purchased a bottle of Passoa Passion Fruit Liqueur, which seemed like it could very easily do the trick. 

The liqueur is incredibly sweet, so you don’t need a whole lot.  Trayce had suggested that no drink really needed more than a cap-full, which is about a 1/4 ounce.  I poured the liqueur in as a floater, and then stirred the drink a bit to mix it together a bit more.

This was better.  The sour flavor was still prominent, but not lip-smackingly so.

 Jeff “Beachbum” Berry’s Hurricane (Modified)

2 oz Dark Jamaican Rum
1 oz lemon juice
1 oz passion fruit syrup
.25 oz passion fruit liqueur

Shake with ice, strain into a glass with crushed ice.

Check out previous Mixology Monday Entries!

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