Folks, it’s June in Houston and you know what that means: Hell’s climate has taken a vacation to the surface of the Earth. Also it’s the beginning of hurricane season.
If you’ve had a hurricane before, you’ve also probably experienced the wonders of levitating over the streets of the French Quarter. I first did this at my brother’s bachelor party in 2009 and was perfectly content to float above the bed I ended up in until the TV started talking about Texas A&M in the Big 12 basketball tournament, at which point the hurricanes, uh, promptly made landfall. But I digress.
Hurricanes may have first appeared at the 1939 World’s Fair, a mysterious concoction of unknown origins served in a glass that looked like a hurricane lantern, served from the appropriately named Hurricane Bar. We do know, however, that the cocktail truly took off in the 1940’s in New Orleans. Whiskeys were in high demand in the U.S. after World War II, but were sadly in short supply due to the war effort. Distilleries were needed to supply alcohol for ammunition and synthetic rubber, not to mention the grains required to create the spirits had to be rationed for troops and livestock. As time went on certain restrictions were eased, such as increasing the size of barrels, reducing the amount of iron hoops needed for those barrels, and reducing the recommended bottle size from 1 quart to 4/5 of a quart (or 750 ml). However, it would take a few years to get production back to the level needed to slake America’s thirst.
While the U.S. was busy diverting its agricultural and manufacturing resources towards the war, the nations of the Caribbean were still able to produce their molasses & sugar cane-based exports and ship them northwards to New Orleans, where they would then board barges on the Mississippi to make their way through the country. Enterprising distributors were flooded with a glut of the stuff, so they began to strike deals: buy a couple cases of rum, get a case of whiskey. Such was the situation Charlie Cantrell and his partner Benson O’Brien (better known as Pat) found themselves in. The duo conscripted their bartender, Louis Culligan, to help come up with a way to use the mass amounts of rum they accumulated, eventually settling on a (very strong) mix of Jamaican rum, lemon, and passion fruit. Today, hurricanes at Pat O’Brien’s are sugary mixes with a slightly radioactive glow that bear a passing resemblance to their original recipe. After mixing up a batch of the classic, I’ve got to say that I much prefer it, and that’s what we’ll be making today.
Adapted from Serious Eats/Jeff Berry’s Beachbum Berry Remixed
2 ounces lemon juice
2 ounces passion fruit*
4 ounces dark rum
3/4 ounce simple syrup
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until well mixed, pour unstrained into a vessel of your choice (preferably a hurricane glass). Top off with ice as needed.
*The original recipe calls for passion fruit syrup. You won’t use it very often in other things, so I’d suggest using a passion fruit puree or juice (I used a can of Goya passion fruit cocktail). I added the simple syrup to compensate for that lack of extra sugar; you can use grenadine instead if you want something closer to what they make now.
In your heaaaaaaaaaad