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COCKTAIL HOUR: The Hurricane

10:01 AM, Feb. 23, 2011
The Hurricane as served at the Fish House. / Bruce Graner/GoPensacola.com

Mardi Gras, a French term meaning Fat Tuesday, is the last day of the Festival of Carnival, a worldwide celebration of the end of winter and the beginning of spring. Carnival has been around for centuries and occurs each year from Jan. 6 until midnight the day before Ash Wednesday, which marks the arrival of the fasting days of Lent.

Because the French once governed places such as Pensacola, Mobile, and most famously New Orleans, the French tradition of celebrating Carnival remained and evolved.

Over the years, Carnival has been shortened to Mardi Gras and has been stretched out to a celebration of weeks filled with big parties, parades, and drinking and eating to excess.

One of the most recognizable cocktails of this celebration is the Hurricane, a very strong rum punch that is said to have been created by Pat O'Brien, a well-known tavern owner in New Orleans. According to one story, before Prohibition's end in 1933, O'Brien had a speakeasy with the password "Storm's abrewin'."

After Prohibition was repealed, Pat opened a legitimate bar. For a while, Southern rum-runners, faced with a glut of post-Prohibition rum, wouldn't sell him a case of whiskey unless he bought 12 cases of rum. Looking to get rid of the huge surplus, he created a rum-laden punch, put it into lantern-shaped glasses, named it the Hurricane in honor of the speakeasy's password, and sold the powerful drink to sailors.

The drink is now well recognized all over the world as a New Orleans party drink. Here's our take on it.

The Fish House's Hurricane

1 ounce Grey Goose Vodka

1/4 ounce grenadine syrup

1 ounce Bombay Gin

1 ounce light rum

1/2 ounce Bacardi 151 rum

1 ounce Amaretto Almond Liqueur

1 ounce triple sec

Grapefruit juice

Pineapple juice

Pour all but the juices, in order listed, into a hurricane glass three-quarters filled with ice. Fill with equal parts grapefruit and pineapple juice, and serve.

Laissez les bon temps rouler at your Mardi Gras party this year!

The Fish House, 600 S. Barracks St. 433-9450, or visit www.goodgrits.com.

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