I've never personally been to New Orleans, but I've always wanted to go. It's landed itself on my list of must-visit cities due to the city's rich traditions and delicious food. When you think of famous NOLA foods, you may be reminded of gumbo, shrimp creole, or king cake. However, you may also come across a famous drink called a hurricane. When I first heard of this mysterious cocktail, I just had to know what was in it and how I could get a taste of New Orleans at home. If you've also been wondering 'what is a Hurricane drink,' I'm here to help you out.

What is a Hurricane?

cocktail, sweet, juice, ice, alcohol
Abigail Wilkins

Hurricanes are a signature drink of the New Orleans area (the name came about since the city is particularly prone to these types of tropical storms). These fruity and delicious drinks are typically served in a glass that's a shape of a hurricane lamp. Hurricane cocktails are particularly popular around Mardi Gras. 

The classic recipe for this beverage involves both light and dark rum, orange juice, lime juice, simple syrup, and grenadine. It's usually garnished with a cherry and an orange or lime wedge. However, many bars have developed their own specific blend of juices to make their own unique recipe. You can even buy some of them online!

If you don't have time to jet down to New Orleans and are looking to make some of your own, try this DIY Hurricane cocktail recipe. It's sure to please a crowd and would be easy to put in a punch bowl for your guests to serve themselves. This drink would be especially fitting if you plan on hosting a Mardi Gras party.

The History Behind the Drink

You may be thinking that this fruity, rum-based drink is a recipe borrowed from a Caribbean country. However, this recipe was actually created by Pat O'Briens Bar located in the French Quarter in New Orleans. During World War II, other popular liquors, such as Scotch and whiskey, were difficult to get, but rum was readily available. In order to get just one case of the prized liquors, salesmen forced buyers to also purchase up to 50 cases of rum

As a result of this surplus, the head bartender decided to whip up a boozy concoction to satisfy customers and simultaneously use up all that rum. They decided to serve it in a hurricane lamp-shaped glass and name it after the storm that typically runs through that region. The recipe was featured in Cabaret magazine in 1956 and took off from there.

This beverage gained so much attention by customers, that it's been widely copied in the New Orleans area. I recommend trying to get the original beverage at Pat O'Briens if you're ever in the region. If you're lucky enough to visit, you can pay a few dollars extra and leave with their specialty glass to keep. Their mixes are also available for sale on their website if you want an authentic experience at home. However, there are many other places in New Orleans that offer their own interpretation of the cocktail such as Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar.

Whether you buy a mix, make some at home, or are fortunate enough to try the original, we'd love to hear what your first hurricane experience is like. Please reach out to @spoon_bulldogs on Instagram to tell us what you think and send us pictures!