Pat O’Brien’s: This is the story of the hurricane

Pat O’Brien’s modest yet distinctive sign. Photo by Kate Peregrinate via Flickr.

Pat O’ Brien’s is a unique bar in New Orleans, Louisiana. Located right at home on Bourbon Street, it’s one of the most commonly visited bars in the French Quarter. The bar has always been significant to the culture of New Orleans, serving as a signal of the end of prohibition for the booze-loving town in 1933 when Pat O’Brien converted his speakeasy into a drinking establishment in the 600 block of St. Peter. When Pat realized how little space he had, he moved the bar to 718 St. Peter Street where it still sits today. It’s ideal location paired with it’s lively atmosphere has kept the customers coming and the drinks pouring ever since.

Pat O’Brien’s signature drink: The Hurricane. Photo by Angela on Flickr.

Their success is readily visible. Tourists and locals alike stroll the quarter with the distinctive Hurricane cups, easily downing the violently red liquid within. The Hurricane (recipe here) was created in World War II, when whiskey was sparse but rum was plentiful. With all the rum in the bar and a few empty hurricane lamps, history was made (Keith I. Marszalek, “Home of the ‘Hurricane’ Pat O’Brien’s turns 75 this week.” November 30, 2008. Accessed July 05, 2017). The improvisation was successful enough that Pat O’Brien’s now-famous drink hasn’t changed in composition since: light rum, dark rum, a few different fruit juices, and a dash of grenadine.

The result is something sickly sweet and slightly tropical. For those who prefer this knock-out in the comfort of their own homes Pat O’Brien’s also sells a drink mix. But somehow, a Hurricane on your own is never quite the same as one served in an imposing glass in the bar’s bustling crowd.

This was originally published on July 5, 2017


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