How To Make a Hurricane

Slate's Culture Blog
Oct. 29 2012 2:46 PM

How To Make a Hurricane

A hurricane


There was a groan of a pulley wheel, a bolt in a plasma globe, an echo of a belly laugh in the operating theater—and a coinage lumbered creaking from the media laboratory last week. Heavy weather headed toward the nation and the city: the Frankenstorm. As the week dissolved into the weekend, New York City was unfazed. Friday night was business as usual, paganism and preening. New York was pleased with herself for remaining unimpressed by a tropical cyclone with extra toppings. New York was pretty confident that she wouldn't have to go to the office on Monday but she's wasn't gonna jinx it by saying anything.

Troy Patterson Troy Patterson

Troy Patterson is Slate's writer at large and writes the Gentleman Scholar column.

Saturday afternoon the air was electrostatic with festivity. This is one of those years where Halloween casts a social shadow over a whole week, and on the boulevard it can be difficult to guess which of your fellow pedestrians are going to parties costumed as slutty housecats and which are just running errands after yoga. On the street it is easy to confuse the people dressed up as Jeff Lebowski with the people walking around stoned in bathrobes as usual. Sunday it was on—a hurricane party—and as you went about Brooklyn corralling flashlights and batteries, you heard other shoppers saying into their telephones, “Hurricane Party.” Some said it with an open tonal leer, as if, in addition to canned food and bottled water, they had further stockpiled psilocybin mushrooms and personal lubricant. 


Sunday evening, I went into a neighborhood liquor store where the business was brisker than the air, and I bought rum. Then I went into my neighborhood cocktail spot to seek counsel on using it wisely. My man behind the bar fixed me a fruity New Orleans cocktail called the hurricane. If you have been to New Orleans, you have had a hurricane. You had this hurricane in the French Quarter, probably at Pat O'Brien's Bar, which created it in the 1940s as a delivery device for surplus rum. Either you sat down sipping it from a hurricane glass with a gaslamp silhouette or you swigged down Bourbon Street staggering it, but you had this hurricane, trust me. Your protestations that you cannot remember having had it are immaterial—and indeed may be entered into evidence as support for the other side.

Sunday evening, my bartender at JakeWalk hacked the cocktail as below. 

Easy Ad Hoc Hurricane
1 ounce white rum
1 ounce dark rum 
3/4 ounce fresh orange juice
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce housemade grenadine
orange peel or half-wheel

If there’s demerara rum around, use that as the dark rum. If the demerara is an El Dorado 12 Year, get psyched. Shake with ice. Strain over ice into a chilled old-fashioned glass. Sing the chorus of “Purple Rain” while toothpicking a cherry to an orange peel for a garnish. 

This hurricane was lit like a Jimmy Buffett song. Orange-pinkishly pleasant, it put a gentle grin on the face—a pleasant grin that may grow to a piratical smile if you take this recipe as square one in the board game of your cocktail hour. 

By the book, a hurricane contains passionfruit syrup—an ingredient you are unlikely to find in your pantry unless you live in a tiki bar—and so Sandy presents a hurricane-hacking challenge to the housebound bartender. What will you do with what’s at hand? How best to give this cocktail the sweetness and body that define it? A glug of Dole pineapple juice? A slug of sloe gin? Me?

When I tried this at home, I used Gosling’s dark rum, because that’s what I’d bought, because we’re talking about the dark and stormy tomorrow. Also, I upped the liquor content by 50 percent. And most moistly I tossed into the cocktail shaker, with the flourish that comes only to those actively taking food from the mouths of children, a heaping tablespoon of apple sauce—Santa Cruz Organic apple apricot sauce, to be precise. Results were tangy. Leave your lab notes in the comments section. 


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