Editor’s Page – Hurricane Hater

This piece featured in the December issue of Australian Bartender

By David Spanton

What is it about Hurricane glasses I hate so much? Is it the fact that they scream my cocktail list is stuck in the 80s? Or maybe the bartender loved it so much they stole it from the Tropicana bar at Hamilton Island? Either way, I can’t tell you how much I cringe at the sight of this glassware.


I have visited enough cocktail bars and judged enough cocktail competitions over the past decade to know that if you fancy this 15 ounce mountain of glass that customers have to stand on their stool to take a sip from, then your drinks list is a concern.

Secondly, you will never win a cocktail competition using a Hurricane glass – no mater how good your drink tastes. There are just so many other options you could consider that can accommodate your cocktail. Like a fun Tiki mug or a 12 ounce highball. The obsession with larger and larger size cocktail glasses over the decades, much like our food portions, has left many cocktails supersized to ridiculous proportions.

Just look at the Martini glass that is designed to accommodate a three ounce drink, so a five ounce glass would be sufficient. That being said anything from nine to thirteen ounce Martini glasses can be found in bars around the country! Either you put 10 olives in your glass or your proportions for many a cocktail are completely over the top. Today when bars are expected to operate to such a strict responsible service policy, such supersized concoctions won’t do you any favours, let alone the extra stock you’re using.

Let’s be honest. Most of the cocktails that end up in Hurricane glasses are either blended or frozen (one popular exception is of course the hard hitting Long Island Ice Tea) and for most readers I don’t have to tell you that these types of cocktails have been out of fashion for the better part of a decade. But even if they make a comeback and the blender once again becomes a staple for every bar, there is no need for the Hurricane glass even for mocktails, or ‘mocking cocktails’.

Yes, yes, I know there has been a bit of a boon in ‘bringing back the fun’ to cocktails with some blue libations and the like making a comeback, but do these really have to be served in the ghastly vases? Check out Hinky Dinks (Sydney) if you’re after some tips on how to have fun cocktails while still using snazzy glasses.

The hurricane cocktail was invented in New Orleans in the 1940s by Pat O’Brian to help move some of his cheap run to the visiting sailors. But even then I would have preferred no Hurricane glass. My suggestion is don’t bother stocking it, even in the face of ‘Shane & Shazza’ regular protests! I’m prepared for a few pre-Hurricane glass emails, but before you hit SEND remember that I have a problem with the glass, not the cocktail, so do your customers a favour and get rid of this daggy glassware.



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