Hurricane Watch: Where to Drink in L.A. for Mardi Gras

Rum for cover, L.A.

Hurricane cocktails usually get a bum rap and with good reason. For years, they were the cause of many a hellacious hangover and tummy ache thanks to their syrupy sweetness. But in most cases, they were made with Hurricane powder instead of quality ingredients like passion fruit juice and grenadine. Thankfully with the rise of the cocktail, bartenders are taking the Hurricane to a serious and well-balanced place, using house-made ingredients and good rum. So for this Mardi Gras, discerning drinkers need not run for cover because there are bars and restaurants in L.A. that serve up craft Hurricanes.

Here’s where you’ll find them as well as a few Mardi Gras drink deals thrown in for good measure.

Sassafras Saloon in Hollywood is always a fine spot for those who want to feel like they’re in New Orleans without the Bourbon Street chaos. On any given night, you can order up Big Easy classics like Brandy Milk Punch and Absinthe Frappe; even obscure ones like Café Brûlot (which is only available during happy hour). But for Fat Tuesday, the bar is throwing a shindig that will feature live music and burlesque as well as debut its new cocktail slushie machines located in the back bar. Choose from flavors like Ode to the Erin Rose Irish Coffee with Jameson Black Barrel, a fresh cherry juice Singapore Sling with Aviation, and a rotating fruit daiquiri with Bacardi and Chareau. Bonus is that bartender Karen Grill’s Hurricane–a beautiful mix of three rums, housemade fall spice grenadine, pineapple, orange, and lemon juices, and passion fruit–will be on special for $8.

Just for the holiday, Short Order will offer the Hurricane for $8 as well. It leaves out the passion fruit syrup and is made with lime, grenadine, orgeat, simple syrup, and rum–served in a Collins glass over crushed ice.

This year’s Mardi Gras is extra special for MessHall since its new executive chef Shane Pritchett hails from New Orleans. The Los Feliz restaurant will feature a Mardi Gras crawfish and shrimp boil ($36) with cinnamon-raisin bread pudding for dessert as well as oysters and tacos for $1 each. For drinks, there will be specialty cocktails named after the Seven Deadly Sins like Pride ($12)–Isle of Skye Scotch, Meletti, Poli Miele, Angostura and Peychaud’s bitters. But the special for Fat Tuesday is the $10 Hurricane made with passion fruit-infused Loft + Bear vodka, lime juice, grenadine, pineapple juice, blood orange juice, and Smith & Cross rum.

For budget-minded drinkers, on Tuesday Fat Dog is offering $1 Sazeracs (two per customer), $4 Abita Wrought Iron IPA, and $5 Hurricanes made with Selvarey rum, Smith & Cross rum, lime juice, passion fruit puree, agave, blood orange juice, and house-made grenadine.

The Church Key barman Devon Espinosa will do up liquid nitro Hurricane “Odd-er Pops” just for the occasion. He’ll mix up a batch of dark rum, passion fruit syrup, lemon, and water, fill up a special Pop bag, and freeze with liquid nitrogen. Then snip the tip and serve. More fun than Go-Cups! These will go for $10 and you can grab them from the cart girls.

Leave it to the folks at Melrose Umbrella Co. They always know how to throw a party. For this one, they’re selling po’ boys and Cafe du Monde beignets and will have live music, brass and piano, from 5 to 11 p.m. And, yes, they’ll roll out a special Mardi Gras cocktail menu with a Sidecar, After Dinner Sazz (Sazerac rye, B&B, Tia Maria, orange and chocolate bitters), de la Louisiane, and even a Hand Grenade (bourbon andrum blend, orange, pineapple, coconut, melon). The Melrose Hurricane (light rum, dark rum, passion fruit, grapefruit, lemon, lime, grenadine, and soda) won’t be shaken or stirred but built in the glass on ice in layers. It’s meant to be sucked down quickly like a Mind Eraser. Limit is two per customer.

Unsurprisingly, dedicated New Orleans bar Preux & Proper Downtown is taking its Mardi Gras party to the next level with special foie gras po’ boys and King Cake cocktails (King Cake Vodka, fresh lime, sugarcane syrup, grapefruit juice, and pineapple juice). But every other night, you can also enjoy its Hurricane, renamed the Category 6 and made with strawberry moonshine, pineapple juice, orange juice, lime juice, passion fruit syrup, grenadine, and Bacardi Oakheart.

Hurricanes Any Old Time

At Good Times at Davey Wayne’s, the Hurricane is only available at the back bar–making it the perfect cocktail to slurp on the patio during a balmy night. On the menu since the Hollywood bar opened its secret-entrance refrigerator door, it’s made with Coruba dark rum, fresh lemon juice, fresh orange juice, and passion fruit syrup.

The Hurricane isn’t on La Descarga’s regular menu, but of course this East Hollywood rum bar will happen to have something like fresh passion fruit juice on hand to make it.