NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) —As the Hurricane Season of 2022 comes to an close in New Orleans, we celebrate and race ahead towards the holidays. However, we must always be prepared for bad weather in and out of hurricane season. A Hurricane, in the City of New Orleans, is more than a storm. A Hurricane is also a libation.
In celebration of the end of Hurricane Season, WGNO Chief Meteorologist Hank Allen went to the Southern Food and Beverage Museum to speak with Founder Liz Williams about the history of the Hurricane cocktail.
At the end of prohibition and the beginning of World War II, bars across the United States were having difficulty acquiring whiskey and other spirits.
Liz Williams says that one alcohol that was easier to obtain was rum, saying, “you had to buy rum, in order to buy those other things in the beginning. If you wanted a case of bourbon, they might have made you buy three cases of rum too.”
In 1940, New Orleans bar owner Pat O’brien was sitting on a wealth of Caribbean rum and needed a way to utilize it. His response was to invent the Hurricane cocktail.
After years of bathtub gin and bootleg alcohol, the country had developed a taste for fermentations that were less harsh and used more sugar. The sugar masked the strength of the liquid and a new era of classic cocktails was born.
“He was able to buy glasses that were oddly shaped. He thought that the shape was similar to a Hurricane glass that you would use to keep a candle lit during a hurricane, that would protect the flame from the wind,” says Liz.
In addition to the rum, the most important ingredient is the passion fruit syrup that reddens the drink. Some bartenders have opted for using strawberry hibiscus syrup instead of passion fruit syrup. There is a mixture of white and dark rum in equal quantities, which makes a potent elixir, when added to orange and lime juice.