Hurricane Cocktail

Hurricane Cocktail post image

Mardi Gras has found its way to us.  Once again people will fill Bourbon Street in New Orleans for the annual revelry that manages the impressive feat of eclipsing every other celebration in a city that is famous for its celebrations.

One of the most iconic drinks consumed in New Orleans has to be from the famous Pat O’Brien’s: The Hurricane.  Served in its synonymous glass and filled with juice and rum, this drink is the perfect way to start a party.


4 oz Dark Rum
2 oz Lemon Juice
2 oz Passion Fruit Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a hurricane glass (or in its absence a pint glass will do) filled half-way with ice.  Garnish with orange slices and a cherry with stem.

The world-famous Patty-O’s Hurricane is a thing of legend.  Sadly that legend has become somewhat tarnished in the modern day.  As with much of Bourbon Street’s libations, the Hurricane has degraded over time to help keep costs at a ridiculous low while serving the customer less and less of what made the drink great.

Today you can buy Pat O’Brien’s Hurricane Mix in packets, mix with a little rum, and supposedly have an authentic Hurricane.  I would stipulate, however, that you can’t even have an authentic Hurricane at the place of it’s inception anymore.

The original Hurricane was concocted by Pat O’Brien (go figure) in the 1940’s.  The failed social experiment of Prohibition had left the US with a dearth of whiskey.  Of course, since rum had been produced just off of the coast of the US, there was plenty of that to be had, and generally if you wanted to buy a bottle of whiskey for your bar, you had to buy a case of rum as well (which should just be every bar’s policy anyway).

Needing to find a way to deal with this glut of rum in an admittedly whiskey and cognac town, Pat O’Brien came up with a drink that used a full FOUR OUNCES of booze.  Some passion fruit syrup and some lemon juice round out the drink nicely, and we have (who else?) Jeff “Beachbum” Berry to thank for rooting through the Dustbin of History to find the original recipe.  Jeff recommends Gosling’s Black Seal rum for the Hurricane, but personally I prefer using Coruba by a factor of about a billion point seven.


Of course, as the drink has become corrupted over the years, the variations of the recipe have multiplied like rabbits set loose in a Viagra factory.  From mixtures using powders to mixes of rum and Hawaiian punch, the bad recipes are too many to count.  The GOOD recipes are almost as varied – from Dale DeGroff’s recipe that calls for Galliano to be added to the mix to the (rather delicious) recipe that Chuck Taggart posted a number of years ago, pulled from the Times-Picayune.

It’s a bit sad to think that millions of happy tourists will be stumbling about in the French Quarter with curvaceous glasses of very little rum and a lot of powdered sweetener when the original drink is so much better and really so incredibly easy to make.  If you really want to capture the feel of Mardi Gras at home (and you don’t live in New Orleans), be sure to make one of these.

Question of the Day:

What’s your favorite New Orleans cocktail?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • DJ HawaiianShirt

    February 16, 2010, 09:04

    It’s nice to see the original Hurricane recipe being spread. I’ll tweet this post for good measure.

  • Paul Etter

    February 16, 2010, 11:04

    I’ve been making this recipe for a while, and recently served it to a gang of rabid Super Bowl fans. I use Finest Call Passion Fruit puree (per the Bum) and some of my tasters found the drink a little tart. Personally, I like the tartness.

    Matt, it may just be the lighting, but I see your hurricane is a bit more orange in appearance than mine, being more toward brown in the color spectrum. I wonder if a passion fruit syrup, like Monin, might sweaten it up a bit.

    Does anyone have a preference for syrup brand?

  • Matt Robold

    February 16, 2010, 11:08


    I suspect the passion fruit syrup plays a part, as will how dark your dark rum is and whether or not your photo may or may not have been “cleaned up” in a photoshop session to hide the fact that instead of using a light box, you took the picture on your kitchen counter…


  • Colin

    February 16, 2010, 14:25

    Favorite NOLA recipe is and always will be a sazerac, however Dale DeGroff’s hurricane is awesome, I use Trader Vics double strength Passion Fruit syrup and cut it in half in the recipe, and throw in a bit of Old New Orleans Rum instead of the lighter rums in the recipe and its amazing

  • Paul Etter

    February 16, 2010, 17:35

    A good sazerac is pretty hard to beat. But a close second is a properly made mint julep. Though I have never found the product of Emeril’s food recipes to be very palatable, his recipe for juleps works every time.

    2 cups bottled spring water
    3/4 cup sugar
    3 cups loosely packed fresh mint leaves
    2 cups GOOD bourbon
    fresh mint sprigs for garnish

    make the mint simple syrup (you know how). Remove from the heat, cover and steep for 30 minutes.

    Strain the mint syrup of the leaves and let cool.

    Combine the cooled mint syrup with the bourbon and pour into a sterilized bottle. A few mason jars works well. Put it in your fridge and give it a month, if you can. Serve over crushed ice with mint sprigs.

  • TikiRon

    February 17, 2010, 11:24

    Good to see this up here since I just had one of these modern Pat O’Brien’s concoctions on Lundi Gras. I did have a really nice Ramos Gin Fizz at the Palace Cafe on Sunday.

  • The Concierge

    February 17, 2010, 11:36

    What kind of passion fruit syrup is the Dood using these days?

  • Tony Harion

    February 19, 2010, 08:26

    Last year in Nola me and Tiare just had to try Pat O´Brians hurricane. We knew it was going to be bad, but we had to do it. Turns out that it was much worse than we thought.
    I bought a bag of the powdered stuff for a prank, but never had the balls to mix it and serve to another human being.
    It´s incredible how people manage to mess up such a simple and tasty drink.
    The lemon in the picture almost looks like a blood orange, something I want to try in the future too.

  • Steve Mirsky

    February 20, 2010, 18:10

    Funny you should mention the authenticity of a current day Pat O’Brien’s Hurricane. From the beginning, I’ve always been skeptical of a cocktail recipe that involves emptying a packet of sugary powder into an otherwise topshelf concoction of fine liquor. I was leafing through Phillip Collier’s Mixing New Orleans the other day and noticed that the Pat O’Brien’s Hurricane entry has a telling footnote: “If you want to make a similar drink from scratch, see Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop’s recipe for a Pirate’s Punch”:

    1.5 oz dark rum
    3/4 oz light rum
    1/2 oz 151 proof rum
    1.5 oz fresh pineapple juice
    1/2 oz fresh orange juice
    1/4 oz fresh lime juice
    1/4 oz grenadine
    orange slice
    Maraschino cherry

    Shake and garnish

  • Dave

    February 23, 2010, 11:13

    I finally found a source of passion fruit syrup where shipping won’t kill me, so I am looking forward to concocting my first Hurricane this weekend. My rum supply is very limited, so it looks like I’ll be going with either Gosling’s Black Seal, or maybe Appleton V/X.

    Does anyone have a preferred rum for their Hurricanes? I love rum drinks, but often have trouble finding the right rum(s) that would take the drinks to the next level.

    Thanks for the excellent blog, Matt!


  • The Concierge

    February 24, 2010, 06:20

    I see some people are making passion fruit syrup from Looza Passion Fruit Juice. Can anyone speak to this recipe versus another or commerical available PF syrup?

  • Matt Robold

    February 25, 2010, 16:10

    I had to do some searching for passion fruit syrups as well.

    Marleigh from Sloshed! recommends the Monin Passion Fruit Syrup.

    Craig from recommends Marquisa (

    I think I may spend some time this weekend making my own, cause why not?

    As for a preferred rum to use, I really, really, really, really like using Coruba for a Hurricane. Like, a lot. Alternatively I like using Appleton Estate 12 or V/X depending on how funky I want it. I have yet to experiment with using El Dorado 12 or 15 year old, and now I’m really wondering why that is…

  • Colin S

    February 25, 2010, 19:48

    Auntie Lilikoi makes the best Passion fruit syrup in this hemisphere, and shipping isnt too terrible, but its fresh.

    Great stuff!

  • DJ HawaiianShirt

    February 26, 2010, 05:38

    I was always under the impression that for a Hurricane, you should use a dark rum that you can’t see through.

  • Dave

    March 1, 2010, 13:16

    I made my first Hurricane over the weekend, using Cruzan Blackstrap. It was either that or Gosling’s Black Seal, and I had more Blackstrap so I went with it. Ta da! I really enjoyed it, although it was a little too sour for my wife’s liking.

    I have a bottle of Appleton V/X to open, too, so maybe I’ll give that a go the next time. I had to buy a three pack of passion fruit syrup, so I should be safely in Hurricanes through the summer. What a pleasant thought that is. 🙂


  • Gil Batzri

    October 4, 2010, 15:53

    The Vieux Carre is my favorite NoLa drink at the moment (on the rocks), Aside from a nice strong Hurricane, I only get VC’s out, as my bar lacks a few of the pieces, and you need to get it at a proper bar as it’s a grown up drink.

    The stuff in the packet is useful for one thing, and one thing only. Tailgates. You can get packets, and mix up a half gallon and bring a handle of Cruzan and you are good to go, a civilized drink (to whatever extent you can have one in a parking lot) I go stronger on the water then they call for and usually go with 3oz of rum.

    Trader Vic Dark rum is a nice cheap uber dark sweet rum that works well for Hurricanes, when I make Hurricane Punch at home, I use that Monin and Lemon, works well and is tasty, it is a kind of scary brown though more then red or yellow.

    For real Hurricanes (ie when me and wife are drinking or entertaining small numbers) we use Aunty Lillikoi, if you are in Kauai go visit her shop she is uber nice, and they have syrup, 100% juice and several jams mustards etc, and a sorbet, She will also ship either online or from walk-ins

  • Cocktail Buzz

    August 28, 2011, 15:33

    Thanks for the inspiration, Matt. We’re having one right now, post- Hurricane. Love the lilikoi! Bottoms up!

  • JFL

    August 29, 2011, 06:32

    BG Reynolds makes a nice Passion Fruit Syrup for this do they not?

    I love a hurricane, but I think my favorite Dixie Tiki Creation was the Rum Runner.

  • Matt Robold

    August 30, 2011, 09:56

    I like to use the BG Reynold’s Syrup for my Hurricanes. It’s delightfully tart.

  • Hank Casserleigh

    December 7, 2011, 16:18

    I believe the ORIGINAL passion fruit syrup used here was Jero’s. Anyone know the whereaabouts of Jero’s Passion Fruit Syrup, please let me know.
    Hank in New Orleans