Hurricanes Cocktail

18 Extraordinary Facts About Hurricanes

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The Hurricane is a sweet, rum-based tropical cocktail that evokes feelings of warm breezes, palm trees, and island vacations. This fruity libation has a fascinating history and its share of myths and legends.

Here are 18 extraordinary facts you need to know about this iconic tiki drink:

  1. The Hurricane was invented in the 1940s at Pat O’Brien’s bar in New Orleans. As the story goes, during World War II, liquor salesmen needed to figure out how to unload surplus rum that had piled up in warehouses. To help move the stock, Pat O’Brien created the Hurricane.
  2. The cocktail is bright red. This comes from the blend of fruit juices including orange, lime, passionfruit, and sometimes grenadine syrup. The combination creates a tropical reddish hue.
  3. The original recipe had rum measuring 4 to 5 ounces per glass. During wartime rationing, O’Brien needed to use up excess inventory so he poured the rum with a heavy hand! Modern versions typically contain 2 to 3 ounces of rum.
  4. Pat O’Brien’s bar created the iconic Hurricane glass. The curving, flared glass shows off the drink’s color and fruit garnishes. It was custom-designed to prevent customers from walking off with it.
  5. The Hurricane Glass became so popular patrons kept stealing them anyway. To reduce theft, the bar started etching the glasses with the word “Hurricane” so they could identify their pilfered property.
  6. There’s a limit of 2 Hurricanes per customer at Pat O’Brien’s bar. After imbibing 32 ounces of powerful rum goodness, most folks need to settle down! The limit prevents overserving.
  7. The Hurricane cocktail is the inspiration behind grenadine syrup. In the 1800s, grenadine was a pomegranate syrup. When Pat O’Brien couldn’t source it for his drink, he created a substitute red syrup.
  8. The New Orleans drink inspired the name of the university football team Miami Hurricanes. The football program adopted the name in the 1930s.
  9. There are official rules for making a Hurricane published by the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation. The guidelines specify ingredients, preparation, and presentation to maintain consistency.
  10. The primary spirit is dark rum but some recipes call for a blend of light and dark rum. Two or three types of rum create more depth and complexity.
  11. In addition to orange and passionfruit juice, pineapple juice is also commonly used. The extratropical juice contributes more sweetness and fruitiness.
  12. The cocktail is closely associated with tiki culture. The fruity rum drink pairs perfectly with Polynesian pop restaurants and bamboo beach bars.
  13. Some folks mistakenly believe Hurricanes contain absinthe. While Herbsaint and other anise liqueurs are sometimes included, the strong licorice flavor of absinthe overpowers the fruit.
  14. Pat O’Brien’s bar serves up to 15,000 Hurricanes per day. The popular tourist destination still serves more of these cocktails than anywhere else in New Orleans.
  15. The Hurricane cocktail may have helped popularize rum in America. The increased demand for rum before and after Prohibition helped make it the most popular spirit worldwide.
  16. There are variations like the Hurricane Royale that includes champagne. The bubbly mimosa-like version lightens the sweetness.
  17. Pat O’Brien’s bar sells signature Hurricane cocktail mix. Fans can buy it online or in the French Quarter to make the iconic drink at home.
  18. Some say the Hurricane got its name from the rum “storm” it creates. Other legends claim it was named for a destructive 1800s storm that hit the Gulf coast.


From its inception in the French Quarter to its growth into an internationally recognized cocktail, the Hurricane has left its mark. This list of extraordinary facts tells the tale of how a rum-laden concoction became a symbol of New Orleans and helped launch America’s tiki craze. The next time you sip this fruity, boozy drink, appreciate all the history in your glass!

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