We’re all for wild indulgences and enjoy-it-while-you-can before the restrictive Lent season begins (if you are participating). But, no one goes all out for “Fat Tuesday” like our friends in the French Quarter. Ring in Mardi Gras, celebrated the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, with one of New Orlean’s favorites, the Hurricane.
We’re calling our beverage a “classic” hurricane because as with many popular cocktails, what it started out as got so mixed up (pun intended) that what you see today isn’t anywhere close to what was intended. Case in point: our Classic Hurricane has 3 ingredients. Other versions call for two kinds of rum and Grenadine. And, now, worst of all transgressions, pre-made mix. We do not advocate buying, serving, or consuming pre-made mix. For one, it’s cheating; cocktails should be hand-crafted. For two, Dude! you don’t know what’s in the pouch! (sugar, more than likely.) Follow our recipe below for a traditional tropical beverage that will knock your socks off!
We love a good origin story and the Classic Hurricane, like many cocktails, was invented out of necessity (well, if a cocktail can be considered a necessity.) As the story goes, in 1940, the owners of the now-famous Pat O’Brien’s bar in New Orleans were required by their distributors to purchase cases of rum (at the time considered cheap in both price and reputation) in order to obtain the whiskey they actually wanted to sell. Stuck with cases of rum on their hands, Louis Culligan concocted a simple beverage, a citrusy version of a popular punch, sweetened with of all things, passion fruit syrup. And it took off!
If you order a Hurricane – in New Orleans or elsewhere – and it’s bright, cherry red, chances are it’s a pre-made mix or has waaaayyy too much Grenadine. Follow our recipe below to enjoy Louis Culligan’s original classic, and don’t forget the cherry garnish!
Rum comes in several varieties, from light to golden to dark. This particular concoction calls for dark rum, (Jamaican if you are going out of your way) and should not be substituted. A good recommendation is Coruba works great if you can find it, and Appleton Extra or Appleton Reserve are other good candidates.
It is strongly believed that lemon juice was the original citrus and as such, we recommend sticking with that. That being said, if you are of the “rum = lime” persuasion, you have license to try yours with lime.
The Passion Fruit Syrup
Why and how Louis Culligan happened to have had passion fruit syrup on hand is one of life’s great mysteries. But, if he could round that up in 1940, surely we can get our hands on some.
Make your own. We’re always fans of homemade and passion fruit syrup isn’t difficult; combine the fruit with sugar and simmer. Check out this easy recipe. If you can’t come by fresh passion fruit, look for passion fruit pulp in Latin markets.
Note: less you worry about making passion fruit syrup for Mardi Gras then having extra on your hands … you can add vodka to your syrup to preserve it for up to 3 months, or make a large batch and freeze.
Buy passion fruit syrup. Not advised, as fresh is always best, but as it really is nothing more than fruit + sugar, that’s what the bottled stuff is (though, probably more sugar than fruit.)
- 2 ounces dark Jamaican rum
- 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
- 1 ounce passion fruit syrup
Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker and add plenty of crushed ice.
Shake well and pour, unstrained, into a Hurricane glass; ok, an old fashioned glass or tiki mug would also be acceptable.
Garnish with an orange slice and a marachino cherry.