Hurricanes, absinthe and American history

By Katherine

This cup is not a collectible

One reaches a point in life that she simply has enough souvenir glasses, perhaps by 22. So instead of plunking down some hard-earned presidents for a hurricane and the pretty take-home glass at Pat O’Briens, the famed bar that created the cocktail, I had one at a sprawling outdoor cafe down the street from the hotel. Not to be outdone, Greg had his the next day at this outdoor bar on Bourbon Street, right next to the “Gentleman’s Club” that was offering free pole dancing for the ladies. No, I didn’t take them up on their offer, my only true regret in life from the trip.

This drink holder/fish bowl will be cherished for years to come

I’ll pause here to allow you to ponder his expression…

Onto the first history lesson: During World War II whiskey was in short supply, according to the good folks over at Pat O’Brien’s. But rum, well dang, you could get cases of that bad boy. Here’s a snippet from their website:

“In order to purchase just one case of these liquors, liquor salesmen forced bar owners to purchase as much as 50 cases of rum, which was plentiful. In an effort to use the abundance of rum that Pat O’Brien’s acquired, the recipe for the Hurricane evolved with the help of an eager liquor salesman. The name came soon after when a glass shaped like a hurricane lamp was used to serve the fruity rum cocktail.”

See you feel smarter already! While there are hurricane mixes. Here’s what goes into one of the cocktails:


  • 2 ounces light rum
  • 2 ounces dark rum
  • 2 ounces passion fruit juice
  • 1 ounce orange juice
  • juice of a half a lime
  • 1 tbsp simple syrup
  • 1 tbsp grenadine
  • orange slice and cherry for garnish

Squeeze the lime juice into a shaker with ice, dump in the rest of the liquids and strain into a hurricane glass, or a souvenir fish bowl if you prefer.

Now onto history lesson No. 2. That’s right kids, you get two history lessons and two cocktails this week. If pink drinks aren’t your thing fear not. New Orleans is also known for a drink called the Sazerac, which is fun to drink and say.

It dates back to 1838, which in America is almost prehistoric, making it the “world’s first cocktail.” The owner of a New Orleans apothecary invented it and by 1850 it was the first branded cocktail, according to the Sazerac Company. In the 1870s, absinthe was added and American rye whiskey had replaced the French brandy originally used. You can read more of the history on the company’s site. Here’s their official recipe:

The Sazerac

  • 1 cube sugar
  • 1½ ounces Sazerac Rye Whiskey or Buffalo Trace Bourbon
  • ¼ ounce Herbsaint
  • 3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
  • Lemon peel

Fill an old-fashioned glass with ice. In a second old-fashioned glass place the sugar cube and bitters to it, then crush the sugar cube. Add the whiskey or bourbon to the second glass containing the bitters and sugar. Empty the ice from the first glass and coat the glass with the Herbsaint, then discard the remaining Herbsaint. Empty the whiskey/bitters/sugar mixture from the second glass into the first glass and garnish with lemon peel.

Wait, no picture? We had one at Commander’s Palace, the night we left the camera at the hotel, and had planned to replicate it at home, but Greg wisely decided our liquor cabinet does not need absinthe. Neither does our fish bowl!

About Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

This blog attempts to collect some of the things I try to create with food and booze. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. My hope is to entertain and maybe help people think a little harder about what they decide to eat and drink.
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92 Responses to Hurricanes, absinthe and American history

  1. Yuri says:

    I’ve never had absinthe, wanna try it before I die ^_^ I adore pink drinks. Actually my fav drink would be pink bubbly 😀

  2. The Hurricane sounds particularly appealing, but you know, I don’t think I’ve ever seen passionfruit juice for sale here. I must look out for it! Do you think I could sub something else if I can’t track any down? Thanks…

    • Katherine says:

      We actually wanted to make it before we went and saw the ingredients and went passionfruit juice? I don’t think it’d be easy to find here.

  3. A_Boleyn says:

    I remember buying a Hurricane at Pat O’Brien’s many moons ago and then strolling down to Preservation Hall to listen to some old jazz. Fun times. 🙂 Never had absinthe though.

  4. Carolyn Chan says:

    You two sound like you had a very very very good time there ! Thanks for the history lesson 🙂

  5. If 10th grade history had been more like this, I would have gotten a lot better grades… cheers!

  6. Lauren says:

    Hahaha that picture definitely made me laugh out loud! Too funny!!

  7. ceciliag says:

    but do i get my drink in a fishbowl? and i think Greg was wise, absinth will send you least for the night!.. c

  8. OMG, fish bowls! That was the drink of choice for one of my sorority’s mixers, “Alpha Phi’s Phantasy Island”.

  9. peasepudding says:

    Is Greg’s saying with that expression…and this is the small cocktail!

  10. Laura says:

    I love that the fish bowl comes with a straw and a lid so you can drink on the go.

  11. Okay I will admit it.. probably the only one to do so, I would have totally taken that free pole dancing class lol. And if you took the class, I think you and Greg wouldn’t have come out of the room maybe? lol. And that expression is priceless Katherine lol.

    • Katherine says:

      Ha, you haven’t seen me dance, Greg might have run out of the room. OK, anyone else in it would have, Greg thinks … well nevermind! But yes, that expression is so funny.

  12. niasunset says:

    Sounds great taste. I just wanted to be there and to taste too… Wonderful writing, expression and lovely photograph of him! Thank you dear Katherine, with my love, nia

  13. That is a serious drinking town – it should be called the Big Queasy!

  14. Sissi says:

    So the Hurricane is the New Orleans cocktail Greg mentioned while commenting on my Passionfruit Daiquiri! I must definitely test it now that I know how passionfruits are perfect in drinks 😉 Both cocktails sound fantastic and I envy you so much the fish bowl!

  15. Sad Man's Tongue: Rockabilly Bar & Bistro - Prague says:

    You need to come over and try the Absinthe bars of Prague if you really want see the green fairy 🙂

  16. Now that is a serious drinking vessel – it even requires a strappy thing – I also want one!
    🙂 Mandy

  17. c & s W says:

    I love a good Sazerac… absithe is a great mixer for cocktails but like all good things, only in moderation; otherwise it has a tendency to overpower the sense and consciousness. Try a Death in the Afternoon (champagne with a shot of absinthe). Throw in some cardamon seeds for show: they bobble festively in the bubbles… If Hemmingway liked it it can’t be all bad!

  18. Eva Taylor says:

    The expression is priceless, Katherine! The fishbowl drink is crazy! Looks like you had an amazing time in New Orleans. I’ve always wanted to buy absinthe but sadly it’s just crazy expensive (over $50 for the cheapest one in Toronto) so I’ve never done it. I’ve always loved the pomp and circumstance around the pouring of the absinthe over the fancy spoon with a sugar cube. Maybe next year when we go to Paris I’ll buy some.

  19. sami116 says:

    HAHA Who doesn’t like pink drinks?

  20. SimpleP says:

    This post stirs up great memories of our honeymoon in Naw’lins. I’ll never forget my first Hurricane experience from Pat O’Briens. The ceilings were spinning and my entire perspective changed.

  21. JamieAnne says:

    Ha! Ha! I’m loving the fishbowl.

  22. zestybeandog says:

    Sounds like a hang over in a fishbowl 😉 Those things are strong! Looks like your having fun though!

  23. jolynccc says:

    mmmm….pink drinks, my fave!! 😉

  24. afrankangle says:

    Gotta love the fish bowl holder!

  25. Now that´s a good travel flask…neck band, lid AND straw! Tried absinthe once at Vinopolis in London….eek, it wasnt for me. Like the sound of a hurricane though. Maybe the two of you could organise a group holiday for us all to join in 🙂

  26. Kristy says:

    Love the fish bowl! Oh how I need a trip to New Orleans! I’ll take the hurricane and maybe the pole dance lesson. LOL!

  27. Lea Ann says:

    LOL over that fishbowl photo and caption! Priceless.

  28. ChgoJohn says:

    When I tended bar, Sunday was Cheap Pitcher Day and a few fellas would eschew our fine stemware and drink their beer straight out of the pitcher. (We served society’s upper crust.) As good as Greg looks in his New Orleans bling, I’m glad none of our customers ever found a way to do the same with a pitcher, drinking beer through a straw being so déclassé and all.

  29. Chef Scar says:

    Haha! NOLA…Disneyland for adults, Greg’s face says it all.

  30. Courtney says:

    The classic fish bowl – a must for every good cocktail drinker. Love Greg’s expression. I really wish you two had had more fun down there. 😉

    • katherine says:

      Ha, you know it was a little louder than places we normally go. OK, a lot louder. Normally we go places out of season and are out enjoying scenery relaxing. This was pretty frenetic!

  31. egg me on says:

    Two cocktails and two history lessons?? You guys have really outdone yourselves. I think you need to fill up that fishbowl and reward your good deeds. That neck holder contraption is pretty ridiculous, err, smart! I hope you’re making good use of that!

  32. spicegirlfla says:

    I mean, really…did Greg like the drink or not?? Smile for the camera next time Greg! I’ll take the pink drink…in a much smaller glass with an umbrella 🙂 sounds really delicious! I’ve had a hurricane before, just never made one at home and now I’ve got the recipe!! Thanks so much Katherine!

    • katherine says:

      You should see when he tastes wine. I have to wait for the verdict, he’s so contemplative. I can’t read his face most of the time. It’s quite cute if you ask me!

  33. nrhatch says:

    Great post . . . and photo! Love the souvenir fishbowl (and Greg’s expression).

  34. I would like the Hurricane, please! And it looks like you had a great time!

  35. Christina says:

    Hahaha…that fishbowl is killing me! I need to get one for my husband! 😉 I love hurricanes…can’t go wrong with two types of rum! 😀

  36. Joanne says:

    That fishbowl photo is absolutely priceless. LMAO. I’ll have to make myself a hurricane sometime! I LOVE passion fruit and rum is one of the few liquors I like to drink. I cook with brandy and those things but am too much of a pansy to drink them HAHA.

  37. Kelly says:

    Ha-ha! That expression is indeed priceless! Love it.

  38. needtotaste says:

    Awesome! Gonna try that Sazerac, hadn’t heard of it before!

  39. Young Wifey says:

    I had absinthe when I studied abroad… but I didn’t know what it was ahead of time… oops!

  40. Charles says:

    Ahaha, that picture is just so awesome 😀 I’m very curious to try absinthe – it seems like there’s a whole load of data online about it – some saying that it’s highly dangerous and psycho-something-or-other, causing rapid hallucinations and so forth. Some saying this is all exaggerated bunkum. What to believe‽

  41. Charles says:

    Yeah, that’s you hallucinating 😉

  42. What no bib with the drink?

  43. rsmacaalay says:

    Thats a huge drink! Priceless reaction, was that a brain freeze?

  44. I had a set of hurricane glasses from Pat O’Briens for years. Finally gave them away. They used to give you a tall glass with the drink. My hubby and I got a whole set in one night! Almost didn’t make it back to the motel. lol.

  45. gbaby says:

    hey is passion fruit like a juice or is it a type of liquor

  46. Pingback: Sunday Suppers: Pass the Grits, Easy on Bourbon | Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

  47. Pingback: The Sazerac Revisited | Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

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