11 Best Rums For A Hurricane

The Hurricane cocktail was developed at the legendary Pat O'Brien's bar in New Orleans, likely as a way to package cheap rum. Despite that inauspicious origin story, the drink caught on with the crowds of tourists flocking to New Orleans and it's become one of the must-try drinks for people visiting the Crescent City. The traditional way to make a Hurricane is with light rum, lime juice, orange juice, passionfruit juice, simple syrup, and grenadine. Although, you can get a powdered Hurricane mix from Pat O'Brien's that just requires water and rum. After the drink is shaken and poured into a Hurricane glass over ice, it is traditionally topped with a 1-ounce float of dark rum.

While you can go all the way to New Orleans to get a Hurricane at Pat O'Brien's (possibly made with the proprietary powdered drink mix), we think you can make a much better version of the classic cocktail at home using fresh ingredients and some choice rums. Below are our rum recommendations for the next time you make this classic New Orleans cocktail.

El Dorado 8-Year Rum

In the same way that true Champagne must come from a specific region in France, the South American country of Guyana makes an appellation of rum called Demerara. Demerara rums are the product of old wooden distillation stills and barrel-aging techniques, as well as the distinct terroir and environment of the Guyanese coast where they are distilled. Defined by a dark color, full body, and subtle amount of spiciness, Demerara rum gets compared to the somewhat similar Jamaican-style rum, and this makes sense because both are former British colonies. However, Jamaican-style rums go beyond the tongue-tickling spice of Demerara rums and into full-on funkiness.

El Dorado makes a range of Demerara rums that are blended and bottled based on how long they have been aged, with the age listed on the bottle referring to the youngest rum in the blend. While El Dorado rums aged for longer will give you a smoother cocktail, the 8-year rum delivers just enough smoothness at an approachable price point. In a Hurricane, the rum's flavors of caramel, toffee, flambée banana, butterscotch, and oak  provide a strong foundation on which the rest of the tropical cocktail can be built.

Coruba Jamaica Rum

When it comes to spirits in the craft cocktail world, "additive" is a dirty word. These days, people want spirits that are naturally colored and flavored. Anything with artificial ingredients is seen as inferior. Coruba Jamaica Rum is the exception to the rule. For decades, this funky Jamaican rum has been made with caramel coloring, and despite that, it's been a secret weapon among some of the best bartenders in the country, and tiki bartenders in particular. Many bartenders were willing to overlook artificial coloring because, for many years, Coruba was one of the only widely-available rums with the signature Jamaican funkiness referred to as "hogo." This funkiness comes from the use of pot stills for distilling, and its increased popularity in the past couple of decades has led to Jamaican-style becoming more available in the United States.

With its signature funk, Coruba can take the Hurricane to Jamaica, completely changing the flavor profile of the cocktail. A word of warning: Hogo is a bit of an acquired taste, and some people might prefer a rum with a softer flavor profile.

Hamilton Beachbum Berry's Zombie Blend

Blending is a standard practice used to achieve consistency in the rum industry, but the technique has taken on a life of its own in recent years. Many tiki and tropical-themed bars have started making their own house blends of rum for different cocktails. For example, there might be one blend for daiquiris and another blend for Mai Tais. Hamilton has also taken this cocktail-centric approach to rum blending and released several blends that are meant for specific drinks.

Clocking in at 59% ABV, the Beachbum Berry's Zombie Blend from Hamilton might be made for a Zombie cocktail, but that drink and the Hurricane share a lot of the same DNA. Both drinks make heavy use of rum, citrus juices, and grenadine. This blend from Hamilton is made with three different types of rum, giving your Hurricane a well-rounded rum profile without having to use three separate bottles. It also packs a punch.

Ron Colon Salvadoreño Coffee Flavored Rum

Passionfruit has a strong tartness as its defining flavor, but underneath that, there's a subtle bread-like quality that pairs well with coffee. This pairing is best expressed using fresh passionfruit juice from perfectly ripe fruit. You can tell if a passionfruit is ripe based on its feel and appearance. A ripe passionfruit will feel heavy for its size. When you press it with your thumb, it should give a little bit, and it's also wrinkled on the outside. Wrinkling is the final stage of the ripening process and it occurs when the fruit is ready to release its seeds. To extract the juice, start by cutting open the fruit. Next, remove the pulp and seeds, placing them in a sieve. Use the back of a spoon to extract as much juice as possible.

Salvadoreño Coffee Flavored Rum from Ron Colon is a great coffee-infused rum with just enough coffee flavor to make for an interesting passionfruit pairing. For a point of reference, it doesn't have the bold coffee flavor of Kahlua or other coffee liqueurs. Instead, this rum has a moderate coffee aroma that blends with oaky and vanilla notes from the aging barrel. If you find the coffee flavor dominates the flavor of your Hurricane, you can always blend this rum 50/50 with any other rum on this list.

Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva

When choosing a rum on which to base your Hurricane, there are two different routes you can take. A light rum will play well with the cocktail's tropical juices, while a darker rum will stand up to the grenadine and sweetness from the passionfruit. Sweet, dark, and full-bodied, the Reserva Exclusiva rum from Diplomatico takes the latter approach.

Located on a prime tract of real estate at the foot of the Andes Mountains, the Diplomatico distillery is one of the most internationally recognized rum makers from Venezuela. The tropical climate, mountain waters, and sugar cane from nearby fields all combine to give Diplomatico rums a signature quality and character. The distillery also uses three different types of casks to age its rums: bourbon, single malt whiskey, and Oloroso sherry. Aged for as long as 12 years, the Reserva Exclusiva rum adds bold flavors of toffee, orange zest, oak, and vanilla to a Hurricane. It's a complex, well-balanced rum that can be used as the base spirit or the dark rum floater in your next hurricane.

Mount Gay Black Barrel

When we think of Barbados, we think of a strong, trailblazing woman who has mastered her craft and proudly represented her country on the world stage. No, we're not talking about Rihanna. We're talking about Trudiann Branker, the first female master blender at the Mount Gay distillery. After taking over from the previous master blender who held the post for more than 25 years, Branker told Chilled that she's looking forward to showing "new expressions of Mount Gay... showing something new."

In her video tasting notes for Mount Gay's Black Barrel rum, Branker said the name comes from the deeply-charred bourbon casks that are used to age this rum for six months before bottling. The result is a bold, aromatic spirit with strong dried fruit and gingerbread qualities. In a Hurricane, Black Barrel rum stands up well amidst all the other flavors in the cocktail, giving it a spicy finish. This is another rum that can easily dominate the overall flavor profile of a Hurricane. So keep that in mind if you're making cocktails for people who aren't particularly big fans of dark rum.

Rhum Barbancourt 5 Star

Rhum agricole, or "rhum" for short, is a category of rum hailing from the French Caribbean. The main difference between rhum and rum is the primary raw ingredient used to make each spirit. Rhum is made from sugarcane juice, while rum is made from molasses. As a result, the former tends to have a fresher, grassy quality, while the latter tends to have more of a sweet earthiness.

The Rhum Barbancourt 5 Star rhum is aged for eight years, and the aging process slightly tones down the grassy qualities while making for a smoother, more versatile spirit. In a Hurricane, this rum expresses tons of dried fruit and a pronounced jam quality. It gives a Hurricane a solid foundation and doesn't get in the way of the drink's other ingredients. Barbancourt rhums also tend to be very affordably priced compared to other rhum agricole. This makes them a great entryway into the world of French Caribbean rhums.

Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum

Made by a company that's been around since the mid-19th century, Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum has become synonymous with its native Jamaica. This overproof rum clocks in at a muscular 63% ABV, but the potency isn't what makes this rum so unique. White rums are typically barrel aged and then filtered to both remove coloring and give them a crisp, clean flavor. But Wray & Nephew never enters a barrel. Instead, it is sent straight from the still and into the bottle. Rather than getting flavor from a barrel, this rum gets most of its flavor from a Jamaican-style pot still, which is known for imparting strong, funky flavors. The end result is a clear rum that looks crisp and clean but instead is full of flavor.

Sporting a combination of funk and flex, Wray and Nephew can take your Hurricane to stratospheric heights. Flavor notes of vanilla, banana, and coconut meld perfectly with the cocktail's other ingredients while the high alcohol content and funky flavors give the drink a unique spin. If the point of a Hurricane is to pass the time during a violent storm, this rum will do the trick.

Plantation Stiggins' Fancy Pineapple

When you hear the words "pineapple rum," you might imagine some sickly-sweet party liquor that's meant for doing shots on Spring Break. However, Stiggins' Fancy Pineapple from Plantation couldn't be further from that. In the 19th century, pineapple-infused rum was a refined spirit, immortalized by Charles Dickens in "The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club." In that work of fiction, the fictitious Reverend Stiggins was a devout Prohibitionist in public, but a regular drinker of pineapple rum in private.

Inspired by both this style of rum and the Dickens character, Alexander Gabriel — who oversees the Plantation brand as president of spirits company Cognac Ferrand — set out to make a modern pineapple rum. Weeks of pineapple tastings lead Gabriel to select the Victoria pineapple as the fruit for his creation. The skins of these pineapples were combined with Plantation 3 Stars rum, while the flesh was combined with Plantation Original Dark rum. These two rums were then filtered and blended to create Stiggins' Fancy Pineapple.

The result is a spicy, pineapple-infused rum that can take your Hurricane in a tasty new direction. Rather than being a dominating feature, the pineapple flavor lingers in the background, adding notes of clove and smokiness. The rum is a bold choice if you're truly looking to make a unique, premium Hurricane.

Diplomatico Planas

Planas is a particularly flavorful white rum from the world-renowned Diplomatico distillery in Venezuela. This rum and others from the distillery are the product of a unique distillation setup that includes continuous column stills, copper pot stills, and a batch kettle. Gilberto Briceño, a master blender at Diplomatico, told The Manual that each column at the distillery has its "innumerable quirks, and those quirks produce typical alcohol, mostly light in flavors." After it is distilled, the rum for Planas is aged for six years in bourbon barrels and then charcoal-filtered multiple times. The result is a complex rum that is a product of both a unique distillation process and barrel aging.

Planas is the Swiss Army knife of white rums, useful in all kinds of situations. In a Hurricane, it brings notes of banana, pepper, and lemongrass — adding a subtle savory quality to the proceedings. But mostly, this rum gets out of the way of the cocktail's other flavors. If you're going to use Planas for your Hurricane, you may want to use a bold, flavorful dark rum as your float.

Goslings Black Seal Rum

For serious spirits enthusiasts who prize the idea of authenticity, blackstrap rum probably throws up a lot of red flags. Let's start breaking this down by getting one thing clear: There's no official category called blackstrap rum. Historically, blackstrap rum was made with highly-processed molasses that contained only trace amounts of sugar. Today, rums like Goslings Black Seal and Cruzan Black Strap emulate this idea with a dark color and rich mouthfeel. These rums aren't made with 100% blackstrap, so how do they achieve such a dark color and rich mouthfeel? That brings us to another red flag for purists: Producers add artificial colorings and flavorings. In fact, these additives make blackstrap rum a polarizing addition to the classic Jungle Bird cocktail.

Putting questions about so-called authenticity aside, Gosling's Black Seal Rum is a strong choice for the dark rum float that traditionally goes on the top of a Hurricane. Featuring the flavors of fruitcake and stewed fruits, this rum is tasty enough to be sipped off the top of your Hurricane or mixed in to add even more flavor to the entire cocktail.

Static Media owns and operates Tasting Table and Mashed.