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.