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Sep 19, 201808:05 AM
Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans



It’s a real New Orleans thing to refer to a weather condition of mass destruction and make a cocktail out of the thought.

The drink is called a Hurricane. And as with most parts of our culinary history, what we claim as an authentic New Orleans creation is probably not. Most certainly the Hurricane, the drink from Pat O’Brien’s, is not the only version.

There is conjecture that the Hurricane, American version, was really “invented” at the Hurricane Bar in New York City in 1939. The more famous iteration of this cocktail was “invented” at Pat O’Brien’s on St. Peter Street around 1943.

Over the years there have been many cocktail recipes which have been named “Hurricane.” The Pat O’Brien’s version was actually an attempt to purchase good Scotch whiskey during World War II. O’Brien and his partner, Charlie Cantrell, were forced to purchase a large amount of not-so-good rum to earn the right to buy the Scotch.  

Keep in mind that New Orleans is close to the Caribbean, which has an abundance of sugar cane and rum is the resulting product. But right after Prohibition and during the Great War, distilling quality in that part of the world was not important. The resulting spirit was okay as long as it was within a wide range of outcomes.

O’Brien figured he would be able to sell his stash of rum more quickly and at a higher profit if he created a cocktail adding lots of sugars. The idea of placing more sugar into a sugar-cane based drink was an easy fix. People do love sugar. Then the added novelty of a glass shaped like a hurricane lamp, which the customer could keep as a souvenir, was pure genius.

And, back in those days, no one was really concerned if the Hurricane cocktail even bore any similarity from one watering hole to the next. Drinks and drink names were swapped around like Storyville ladies on a Saturday night. 



  • 1 1/2 oz. each of light and dark rum
  • 1oz. passion fruit syrup
  • 3/4 oz. lime juice


  • 1.5 ounces light rum
  • 1.5 ounces dark rum
  • 1 ounce orange juice
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice (NOT Rose’s or RealLime)
  • ¼ cup passion fruit juice, or 1 tablespoon passion fruit syrup
  • 1 teaspoon superfine sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grenadine
  • Cherries with stems, and orange slice to garnish
  • Ice cubes
Thanks to Darcy O’Neil, Art of the Drink, 2011


Along the way, all manner of additives has been used, including bitters, simple syrup, unsweetened pineapple juice, and other liquids which add to the sweetness of the final drink.  


Let’s also take a look at what you are likely to receive in the Bahamas when you ask for a Hurricane.

  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) 151-proof rum
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) coffee liqueur
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) Irish cream liqueur (such as Bailey’s)
  • 1 teaspoon orange liqueur
  • Garnishes: orange wedges, cocktail umbrella
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
  2. Cover and shake vigorously until chilled, about 30 seconds.
  3. Strain into an ice-filled hurricane glass or other tall glass.
  4. Garnish, if desired.
Thanks to Coastal Living, 2017.


Just when you think you know a cocktail, someone comes along and changes the recipe, maybe even improves on the previous version. Exasperating and confusing, but fun.





Read Happy Hour here on myneworleans.com on Wednesdays, and listen to The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, hosted by Tim, every weekday, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. on WGSO 990AM and streamed, as well as stored (podcast), at www.wgso.com. Also, check out Last Call, Tim’s photo-feature about cocktails in New Orleans, every month in New Orleans Magazine.


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Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans


In New Orleans, when the subject is wine and spirits, it is very difficult to leave Tim McNally out of the discussion. He is considered one of the “go to” resources in the Crescent City for counsel and information about adult beverages and their place in the fabric of life in this great city.


Tim is the Wine and Spirits Editor, columnist and feature writer for New Orleans Magazine; the Wine and Spirits Editor and weekly columnist, Happy Hour, for www.MyNewOrleans.com; creator and editor of his own website, www.winetalknola.com; all in addition to his daily hosting duties on the radio program, The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, on the air at WGSO – 990AM, every weekday, 3- 5 p.m, and streamed live on www.wgso.com.


Over the years, Tim has proved to be an informed interviewer, putting his guests at ease, and covering tactile and technical information so that even a novice can understand difficult agricultural and production concepts. Tim speaks with winemakers, wine and spirit ambassadors, distillers, authors, people who stage events and festivals, and takes questions from listeners and readers, all seamlessly blended together in a program that is unique in America.


Tim’s love of wine actually came about many years ago from his then wife-to-be, Brenda Maitland, a noted journalist in her own right, and together they have traveled to the major wine producing areas in the US and Europe, seeking first-hand information about beverages that give us all so much pleasure.


They were instrumental in the founding of the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience, a major national and international well-regarded festival of its type. They both continue to be involved with the planning and staging of this multi-venue, five-day event now over twenty years old.


Tim is also considered one of the foremost professional wine judges in the US, being invited to judge more than 11 wine competitions each year, including the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition (the largest competition of American wines in the world, with more than 6,000 entries), the Riverside, CA International Wine Competition, San Francisco International Wine Competition, Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition, Indiana International Wine Competition, Sandestin, Florida Wine Festival Competition, the State of Michigan Wine Competition, the U.S. National Wine Competition, and the National Wine Competition of Portugal.


Tim is a guest lecturer to many local wine and dine organizations, and speaks each year to the senior class in the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management at Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama.


Staying abreast of the news of the wine and spirits world is a passion for Tim, and he is committed to sharing what he knows with his listeners and readers. “Doing something I love, with products that I truly enjoy, created by interesting people, coupling the experience with culinary excellence, and doing it all in the greatest city in America,” are the words Tim lives by.


It’s a good gig. 




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