Light and refreshing, the Classic Hurricane cocktail is famous for its New Orleans roots, making it the perfect drink for every occasion from Mardi Gras to the end of summer.
When you visit New Orleans, a Hurricane cocktail should be on the menu.
There is hardly any drink that’s more NOLA, except maybe a daiquiri.
What is a Hurricane drink?
A hurricane cocktail is a classic cocktail made with two types of rum, passion fruit syrup and citrus juice. Some recipes also include orange juice and grenadine syrup.
It gets its name from the billowy shape of the glass, known as the Hurricane glass due to its similarity to the old-fashioned, gas hurricane lamp.
Popular in New Orleans, this refreshing, fruity cocktail is loved all year long, especially during Mardi Gras celebrations and to beat the humid Louisiana summer heat.
The origin of the Hurricane cocktail
While there is debate as to whether the cocktail was invented at New York’s Hurricane Club or New Orleans’ Pat O’Brien’s Bar, most would probably agree the drink was popularized at the latter. In the 1940s, Caribbean rum was more readily available than European whiskey, thanks to the raging war abroad, and owner Pat O’Brien served up this cocktail.
Even today, you can still visit Pat O’s for a Hurricane and an evening caught in between dueling piano bars playing tourists’ song requests. (I‘ve done it and recommend it once!) Hurricanes are available at pretty much any New Orleans bar, too.
Classic hurricane cocktail recipe
This classic recipe for a Hurricane contains two kinds of Caribbean rum, lemon juice and passion fruit syrup.
Sometimes you can find bottled hurricane mix at the grocery store, such as Bacardí Ready-to-Serve Hurricane mix, which you then add to a base of bacardí rum. However, I much prefer to mix up my own so I have control over the flavor.
Sweet, light and refreshing, this fruity cocktail is an amazing drink to serve on hot summer days or when celebrating Mardi Gras.
This recipe is easily scalable because you simply need equal parts of each ingredient, so you can easily multiply it for a crowd and serve up a few pitchers.
(I did this for a friend’s wedding when her celebration had to be relocated due to an actual Hurricane.)
- Serve it at a Mardi Gras party.
- Enjoy them while watching the Saints play football.
- Beat the heat on a hot summer day.
Classic Hurricane cocktail ingredients
While you can use a storebought hurricane mix, I much prefer to make my own. Here are the real ingredients that go into a traditional Hurricane drink:
- Light Rum
- Dark Rum
- Passion fruit Syrup
- Lemon Juice
Light and dark rum
This popular drink recipe calls for two kinds of rum: one ounce each of both light and dark rum.
Light rum, also known as silver rum or white rum, has no color. It is light, crisp and great for mixing. You can also use gold rum, which is medium-bodied and slightly stronger than light rum, as it has been aged in oak barrels.
Dark rum, or black rum, is dark in color and has a caramel flavor.
However, you can use any high-quality rum that you have on hand. You can even use spiced rum for more spiced flavor. Check out my Rum 101 guide for my favorite rum brands, but for this recipe, I used two kinds of Bacardi rum: Bacardi Dark Rum and Bacardi Silver Rum.
Passion fruit Syrup
This delicious cocktail recipe calls for passion fruit syrup, which is a passion fruit-flavored version of simple syrup. Beyond this recipe, you can use this exotic blend of passion fruit flavor to make passion fruit margaritas, passion fruit daiquiris or a passion fruit old-fashioned.
If you can‘t find fresh passion fruit or syrup, you can use passion fruit juice in a pinch. It’s not as readily available as other juices, but I do see it frequently. Check the international aisle or an international grocery store.
And if you still can’t find it, orange juice will work in a pinch. However, passion fruit is the sweet star of the show here, so a substitution will change the taste of the cocktail.
Lemon juice is a staple for so many cocktails! I always recommend using fresh juice if you can.
The bottled stuff will work fine in a punch though! It still has plenty of lemon flavor.
To decorate this cocktail, give it a wedge or slice of fresh orange and a cocktail cherry. You can also use mint leaves, a slice of lime or a piece of orange peel or zest.
A maraschino cherry will work fine, but I much prefer a bourbon or brandy cherry for cocktails to the saccharine, vibrant maraschinos.
How to make the best Hurricane cocktail
This is an easy cocktail to whip up!
- Add some ice to a cocktail shaker.
- Top with light rum, dark rum, lemon juice and passion fruit syrup.
- Cover and shake well!
- Then pour into a Hurricane glass filled with ice cubes. Garnish with a fresh orange slice and a cocktail cherry.
If making for a crowd, multiply the ingredients and stir them together in a pitcher. For example, 1 cup of each ingredient will yield 4 cups, or 1 quart. You may want to make extra and stash it in the fridge for thirsty guests!
Variations and substitutions
As always, I want to make sure you are comfortable making any cocktail with other ingredients if needed.
If needed, you can use passion fruit juice instead of passion fruit syrup. Orange juice or unsweetened pineapple juice will work in a pinch as well. (The Bacardi Hurricane drink recipe actually includes orange juice along with the passion fruit syrup, so it is fine to use a mix of fruit juices.)
Fresh lime juice can be used instead of lemon juice.
For the rum, use two ounces of either dark or light rum if you don’t have both on hand.
More New Orleans Cocktail Recipes
Whip up a few of these Mardi Gras cocktails for your Mardi Gras Fat Tuesday celebrations, or simply try one of these drink recipes any time you wish you were in NOLA. Let the good times roll!
The New Orleans Bloody Mary stars cajun hot sauce and creole seasoning and gets a topper of Louisiana-esque garnishes like okra, shrimp, crawfish or even Voodoo potato chips.
The spirit-forward Vieux Carré is similar to a Manhattan cocktail. Worth a try if you’d like something heavier!
With cucumber at the heart, the Pimm’s Cup drink is another refreshing classic enjoyed all over NOLA.
- 1 ounce light rum
- 1 ounce dark rum
- 1 ounce passionfruit syrup
- 1 ounce lemon juice
- 1 slice orange, for garnish
- 1 cocktail cherry, for garnish
- Add ice to a cocktail shaker. Top with light rum, dark rum, passionfruit syrup and lemon juice. Cover and shake well.
- Then pour into a Hurricane glass filled with ice.
- Garnish with an orange wedge and a cocktail cherry.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 389Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 27mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 1gSugar: 25gProtein: 1g