How to Make a Hurricane Cocktail | Wine Enthusiast
Wine bottle illustration Displaying 0 results for
Suggested Searches
Articles & Content

How to Make a Hurricane Cocktail

The Hurricane cocktail is a creation of Pat O’Brien’s Bar (originally Mr. O’Brien’s Club Tipperary), founded in 1933 by its eponymous owner in New Orleans’s French Quarter. The location had reputedly been operating as a speakeasy prior to its official founding, where customers seeking illicit booze during Prohibition could gain entrance with the password, “Storm’s brewin’.”

The bar’s lore states that the Hurricane cocktail was created due to World War II shortages of whiskey, then the most in-demand spirit in the U.S. market. To secure a case of bourbon, Scotch or rye, bar owners like O’Brien were forced to purchase them alongside larger amounts of less-desired spirits like rum, with purportedly a commitment to as many as 50 cases of rum to gain a single case of whiskey.

Seeking a way to sell this surplus of sugarcane spirits, O’Brien’s staff worked with liquor salesmen to create a cocktail that could incorporate large quantities of rum. Though the formula has shifted over the years, the Hurricane traditionally incorporated four ounces of rum, or twice a standard neat pour. It’s combined with an array of juices, now bundled into a premade branded Hurricane Mix sold by the bar, but the primary flavor is sweetened passion fruit juice balanced with lime, putting this in the sour family of cocktails.

The powerful drink was said to have been a huge hit with sailors, and soon became a signature of both the bar and the city of New Orleans. The traditional curved, footed highball used to serve it (based on the windproof hurricane lamp earlier iterations were claimed to have been served in) has even taken the name of the drink, now known as a hurricane glass regardless of its contents.

What’s in a Hurricane cocktail?

The recipe usually calls for equal measures of light and dark rum, sometimes with a half-measure of overproof rum for those seeking and even stronger drink. With all the other ingredients and flavors going on in the drink, you really don’t need to splurge on pricey, deeply nuanced rums, and can usually get away with using whatever you’ve got on hand.

Denizen makes affordable light and dark rums in the $15–30 range that work, though its Vatted Dark Rum is a fantastic choice to bring extra depth of cinnamon, butter and toffee that helps balance out fruit flavors. Appleton Estate’s Signature Blend is also good entry-level bottling from the storied Jamaican producer that can also be enjoyed neat or on the rocks once you’ve had your Hurricane fill.

For white rum, Plantation 3 Stars is a blend of rums from Barbados, Trinidad and Jamaica that offers nice touches of vanilla and baking spices for such a light-bodied rum and sells for around $20. And when it comes to white rums for cocktails, it’s hard to beat the bang for your buck and consistency of Puerto Rican mainstay Don Q’s Cristal line, often found from $10–15.

Passion fruit juice is often easier to mix into drinks, and has less tendency to settle and clump, than a puree. If you’re able to find it, fassionola is a passion fruit-based syrup used in many mid-century cocktails that historically fall into the tropical category. While previous versions of the ingredient had about as much in common with actual passion fruit as mass-market grenadine does with real pomegranate, craft producers have begun to revive the ingredient with higher quality offerings, like Cocktail & Sons Fassionola.

For simplicity’s sake we’ve taken the easier approach of using passion fruit juice and grenadine in the recipe below.

Total Time

1 min.
Serving Size



2 ounces light rum
2 ounces dark rum
2 ounces passion fruit juice
1 ounce orange juice
1 ounce pineapple juice
¾ ounce lime juice
½ ounce grenadine
Orange slice and cherry, for garnish


Combine all ingredients except garnish in Boston glass-style cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds until well chilled. Strain into hurricane glass filled with crushed or pebble ice. Garnish with orange wheel and cherry.