Both Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras involve public displays that no one really wants to see. Already you’re probably conjuring up mental images, each creating particular visceral reactions. It is possible, however, to tie these holidays together in a way that doesn’t induce a gag reflex.
The instinctual temptation for the cocktail enthusiast is to link the two with a classic red cocktail from New Orleans, the Sazerac. Unfortunately, this drink with cognac, bitters, and absinthe doesn’t have broad appeal. To be successful in bridging this gap, it takes a cocktail that’s as boozy as it is sweet.
Enter the hurricane. The hurricane’s tale can be traced back to New Orleans, and while the official history may be somewhat disputed, the generally agreed-upon ingredients are rum, citrus, and passion fruit syrup. Several variations have evolved over the years, but the classic recipe dating back to the 1940s is credited to Pat O’Brien’s Bar in the French Quarter. This is the version renowned Tiki god Jeff "Beachbum" Berry cites in his book "Beachbum Berry Remixed." The recipe calls for 4 ounces of dark Jamaican rum, 2 ounces of passion fruit syrup, and 2 ounces of lemon juice.
Modern recipes take a different approach. Cocktail legends Dale DeGroff and Gary Regan each have their own recipes that more than double the number of ingredients used. What their modernized recipes have in common is that they use dark and light rums together. They also include orange and lemon or lime juice.
Technically, the original hurricane recipe calls for fassionola syrup, a syrup made with passion fruit, strawberries, and other tropical fruits. Fassionola is hard to find and is likely what DeGroff is attempting to imitate in his recipe that uses passion fruit, pineapple, orange, and lime juices. Passion fruit syrup can also be difficult to find, but Liber & Co. makes a legit bottled one made with 50 percent juice.
While the making of the classic version is straightforward, DeGroff’s and Regan’s recipes create more interesting cocktails. The main concern in using their lengthier recipes is maintaining the right balance between boozy and sweet. The juices chosen should be unsweetened, and the use of an overproof (greater than 50 percent ABV) dark rum like Plantation’s O.F.T.D. (a blend of dark rums from Jamaica, Guyana, and Barbados) helps balance the natural sugars.
Uniting Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras requires just swapping the hurricane’s standard orange juice for blood orange juice. This creates a ruby-red cocktail that’s a great primer for a night of passion, revelry, or both.
Blood Orange Hurricane
Yield: 2 servings (10.25 ounces)
1.5 oz. dark rum
1.5 oz. light rum
.5 oz. Galliano (optional)
2 oz. blood orange juice
2 oz. unsweetened pineapple juice
2 oz. passion fruit syrup
.75 oz. lime juice
2 dashes Angostura bitters
- Combine all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice and shake until chilled.
- Strain into a hurricane or other tall glass filled with crushed ice (Sonic Drive-In’s ice is perfect and available by the bag.)
- Garnish with a pineapple wedge and an orange wheel.