Big Easy Hurricane
Base spirit: Two types of rum
Backstory: Ruth’s version of a Hurricane pays homage to the great Pat O’Brien and his namesake New Orleans bar where this tropical cocktail was invented in the 1940s. As the story goes, O’Brien and partner Charlie Cantrell’s liquor distributor only agreed to sell them whiskey, bourbon, and scotch if they also agreed to buy many cases of rum. To use it up, they created a drink using rum, passion fruit syrup, and lemon juice, and well, you can figure out what happened next.
Ruth’s take: What sets the Big Easy Hurricane apart is its use of fassionola syrup, an ingredient from the tiki boom days that “kind of got lost in the ages and [is starting to experience] a revival,” according to Kelly Hendriksen, who oversees menu and beverage strategy for Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Max Messier of NOLA-based Cocktail & Sons makes the handcrafted syrup (the only one on the Ruth's Chris menu not made in-house) -- and it’s no easy feat. Starting with strawberries from Pascagoula Parish, “a region in Louisiana where they grow the best, juiciest, most wonderful strawberries,” he combines three syrups (hibiscus, strawberry-lime, and tropical fruit) to make the fassionola that goes in every hurricane at Ruth’s Chris. “It’s awesome to have an entity with multiple locations all over the country carry fresh-juice, small-batch syrup,” Messier says.
Pair with: Seared Ahi Tuna. The fruity flavors of the fassionola round out the spice of this tuna, which comes alongside a sauce with hints of ginger, mustard, and beer. It’s a tropical vacation for your palate.