What Is A Hurricane Cocktail And What Does It Taste Like?

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The Hurricane was founded in a New Orleans bar during World War II, according to Spoon University. Many types of spirits weren't easy to come by in those days, but rum was seemingly always easy to get in the port city. So much so that bar owners were forced to purchase large amounts of rum in order to get a small amount of other booze.

So, Pat O'Brien's, which is located in the French Quarter of New Orleans, got creative. It came up with a recipe that was designed to give its customers something different — but also a way to get rid of all the excess rum it was forced to bring aboard.

After it was featured in a magazine in the mid-1950s, the demand for the drink seemed to skyrocket. Named the Hurricane after the glass it's served in, which mimics a hurricane lamp, customers began to ask for it by name.

What's in the Hurricane?

The standard Hurricane recipe combines light and dark rum, orange juice, lime juice, simple syrup, and grenadine. Then, it's garnished with a cherry and an orange slice, adds Spoon University.

However, many restaurants have put their own spin on the popular cocktail, like the Smuggler's Cove Hurricane from a San Francisco, Calif.-based tiki bar, which uses black rum and passion fruit syrup, combined with lemon juice. Or the Beachbum's Own from another New Orleans bar, Latitude 29. This version uses orange juice, pineapple juice, lemon juice, and passion fruit juice.

Liquor.com notes that there are even many types of bottled mixes, too, like Pat O'Brien's pre-made mix or Bacardi's ready-to-serve Hurricane cocktail. These just require you to add the correct amount of rum to your beverage. However, in order to make a tipple that tastes fresh and delicious, it's better to use fresh ingredients instead of relying on a pre-made mix.

How do you make a Hurricane?

According to MasterClass, making a Hurricane cocktail is pretty simple, as long as you have the right ingredients. Fill your shaker with ice first. Then begin building the cocktail. Add two ounces light rum, two ounces dark rum, one ounce of orange juice, two ounces of passion fruit juice, a ½ ounce of fresh lime juice, one tablespoon of simple syrup, and one tablespoon of grenadine to that shaker. Shake it up until the outside of the shaker is cold. Then strain it over a Hurricane glass that has been filled with crushed ice, garnish with a cherry and orange wheel, and serve. 

This building process goes for any variety of the drink. According to The Spruce Eats, when a cocktail has fruit juices in it, that's when it should be shaken to help combine those flavors together. Other times you should shake a cocktail is when it has an egg, sour mix, or dairy. This ensures that the ingredients are completely melded and you get balanced flavor with every sip.

Here's what the Hurricane tastes like

If you're in the mood for a cocktail that's sweet, this is the one for you. The simple syrup, grenadine, and natural sugars from the fruits make it impossible to get away from that part of the taste buds, however, the dual use of the rum makes the drink a bit complex. The Spruce Eats says that when sipping on a Hurricane cocktail, you can expect to also taste a bit of tart from the lime juice, giving it a surprising twist. This allows it to maintain its balance and be much more than a one-note sipper.

So whether it is Mardi Gras time or a hot summer day, the Hurricane cocktail is one that should be on your radar both outside of the home and inside, since it is pretty simple to make. Just be careful of how many go down. While the delicious concoction can definitely go down easily, the mix of two rums clocks each drink in at about 18% alcohol-by-volume (ABV).

Tasty variations on the Hurricane cocktail

No shame to the original Hurricane cocktail, but sometimes you just want to try a new variation. Fortunately, the Hurricane has countless recipes, with some as simple as exchanging your favorite orange juice brand for blood orange juice to give the drink a deeper color.

On a similar note, you can create a Blue Hurricane by using blue curacao in place of passion fruit syrup. Nothing says summer like an ocean in your cup, right? You can also substitute Malibu coconut rum for the dark rum and pineapple juice for the passion fruit juice for an even more tropical twist. Of course, top this drink with pineapple slices; and you're ready to go.

If you're hosting a party, you might even opt for a Category 5 Hurricane Punch. Taste Cooking's recipe includes passion fruit and banana liqueurs, in case the rum didn't already pack enough punch (pun intended). Even better, this variation doesn't have to be shaken, only stirred.

The classic Hurricane: nutritional information

While Hurricanes do indeed include fruit juice, it's only in small amounts; so, unfortunately, these drinks aren't any healthier than any other cocktail. A 6-ounce Hurricane, for instance, contains approximately 6 grams of sugar and somewhere around 250 calories.

That same 6-ounce Hurricane likely also contains around 2 ounces of alcohol, though you can always add more or less to match your personal preference. You can also use solely light rum in your Hurricane if you want a low-calorie alcohol option, or simply nix the alcohol altogether.

However, premade Hurricanes are where things get tricky. Daily's Tropical frozen Hurricane cocktails, for example, contain about 21 grams of sugar within that same 6-ounce drink. That's already 41% of your daily sugar allotment, folks. Don't get us wrong. We love frozen cocktails in the summer, but maybe consider making your own at home so you can better control what ingredients go into them.

Hurricanes vs. mai tais

Now that we're all Hurricane experts, what's the difference between this cocktail and a mai tai recipe? First, let's look at the similarities. Both are rum-based cocktails, use orange and lime juices, and are commonly topped with maraschino cherries.

However, while Hurricanes use passion fruit juice and simple syrup, mai tais use pineapple juice and an almond-flavored syrup called "orgeat." Not only does this combination of ingredients give the mai tai a crisper taste, but it also makes the drink more orange in color than a Hurricane.

Your standard mai tai is comparable to a Hurricane nutrition-wise, containing about 2 ounces of alcohol and 260 calories per cocktail. That being said, a mai tai has a lot more sugar — about 17 grams, as compared to only 6 grams in a Hurricane. 

Just be sure to have a snack and plenty of water alongside your drink, whichever cocktail you decide to enjoy this summer.