What a surprise to find that there is a craft rum distillery right in the heart of downtown Baton Rouge. The distillery and bar have only been open to the public since 2017, so I don’t feel too bad about not knowing that Three Roll Estate Brewery existed. We went on a tour of the distillery and sampled their six varieties of rum. Yum! That got me thinking about mixed drinks which are made using rum. I immediately thought of “Hurricane Cocktails.” These cocktails are made with both light and dark rum and a lots of tropical fruit juices. The drinks are very tasty; they can be both strong and addictive. I decided to make my own “Hurricane Cocktails” and patterned them after the ones served at the iconic French Quarter bar — Pat O’Brien’s — in New Orleans. And since the peak hurricane activity is in September, my “Hurricane Cocktails” are right on time.
My taste tester friends who sampled the hurricane cocktails thought they were pretty good. With several exotic ingredients, I felt like I was on a treasure hunt trying to locate the ingredients at local grocery stores. The drink includes passion fruit juice, orange juice, lime juice, simple syrup and grenadine syrup (I substituted pomegranate molasses). My efforts paid off, and the mix of tropical fruit juices was just right. Passion fruit juice is a key ingredient in this cocktail. I found Welch’s brand of Passion Fruit Juice at Albertson’s grocery stores. You can also pick it up in a Walmart grocery store. Although the Welch’s variety actually contained more apple juice and white grape juice than passion fruit juice; the latter flavor was predominate in the fruit blend. I used pomegranate molasses to provide a red color and flavor. The original recipe calls for grenadine syrup. Pomegranate molasses gave a grey cast to the cocktail — I added a bit of red food coloring to make it more presentable. Next time, I’ll use grenadine syrup which is made from pomegranates and will provide a red cocktail — not a gray one. I made my own simple syrup by boiling 1 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup water until the sugar dissolved.
To make each cocktail, mix all the above ingredients up in a cocktail shaker. Add 2 oz light rum and 2 oz dark rum. Yes, that is alot of rum, this drink is pretty strong. Cut back, if you wish. Serve, with ice, in a tall cocktail glass shaped like a hurricane lamp.
Tourist Attraction – Pat O’Brien’s Piano Bar and Lounge
If you have ever visited New Orleans as a tourist, then one attraction on your “to visit list” is surely Pat O’Brien’s dueling Piano Bar on St. Peter Street. This establishment is in the heart of the French Quarter and actually features three bars including a courtyard lounge. In the Dueling Piano Bar, which began in the 1890’s during the ragtime era, costumers shout out requests for songs for the two piano players to play — the competition adds to the fun. It is a unique place in New Orleans and you can take home a souvenir “hurricane” glass if you purchase a hurricane cocktail.
This establishment “invented” Hurricane Cocktails — a rum mixed drink served in a large, lamp-shaped glass. After drinking several of these cocktails, you will surely leave the bar in a loose, relaxed spirit. During World War II, whiskey was difficult to find. Bar owners were forced to purchase two kegs of rum for every keg of whiskey. With an excess of rum, bar owners became inventive in finding ways to use it. And that is how Pat O’Brien invented the Hurricane Cocktail.
Three Roll Estate Distillery
Three Roll Estate is a small, craft distillery located in downtown Baton Rouge. The estate distills and bottles six varieties of rum and also a whiskey. The rum and whiskey are produced from Louisiana sugar cane. The tour of the small distillery was very interesting, I learned so much about about the process of making rum as well as farming sugar cane. The rum produced here is high quality and each variety is unique. Mark this brewery as a place to visit if you come to Baton Rouge.
Three Roll Estate Distillery is a subsidiary of Alma Plantation in Point Coupee Parish which is across the river from Baton Rouge. That parish borders along the Mississippi River and is primarily farm land. The farm is a huge producer of sugar cane in Louisiana. The plantation claims to be the only “single estate” operation in Louisiana which means that the entire process is completed by the same owner — farming and growing the sugar cane, milling and processing it, brewing the rum and spirits and marketing them to the public.
The three jars at the bottom represents molasses and sugar at various stages of distillation.
“Three Roll” got its name from the three large rolls which are used to crush the sugar cane. Apparently, the farmer only has several hours to extract the sugar in this first step. In this plantation, the process is done in the fields. See the three rollers in the above photo. This huge wheel was once part of that machine and turned the rollers.
Don’t worry, the equipment in the distillery is modern and up-to-date. It took several years for the company to set up and install the equipment in the distillery to process sugar cane into rum which was sold to the public. The vats on the left is where sugar is concentrated down from the raw extrudate received from the farm and the oak barrels on the right is where the dark rum varieties are aged. We received explanations of the entire process in making rum. Could I make rum at home myself now? No, I’ll leave it up to these folks.
Hurricane Season is here
It is in hurricane season once again here in the South. The most active month for hurricanes in the Atlantic is actually September. Last summer, we had a monster hurricane, Hurricane Ida, pass close to Baton Rouge in late August. Although our home did not suffer damage, downed trees and power lines kept the power off in our neighborhood for five days. That was no fun in the sweltering heat. This year, I am making “Hurricane Cocktails” to celebrate the beginning of the active part of hurricane season. We’ll have a drink for good luck that hurricanes will miss everyone this year and cause no damage or harm. And if our power goes out again; I’ll have a candle-lit lantern to use. Well, I’ll have to choose between a light and a rum cocktail!
If you visit New Orleans, make sure to put a stop at Pat O’Brien’s on your list of places to visit. It is a unique part of New Orleans culture. And if you come up the river to visit Baton Rouge, a stop at Three Roll Estate Distillery is worth the time. In the meanwhile, enjoy some homemade “Hurricane Cocktails.”
New Orleans-Style Hurricane Cocktails with Louisiana Rum
- 2 oz light rum
- 2 oz dark rum
- 2 oz passion fruit juice
- 1 oz orange juice
- 1/2 oz lime juice
- 1 oz simple syrup*
- 1 oz pomegranate molasses (or grenadine syrup)**
- orange wedge, garnish
- mint leaves, garnish
- maraschino cherry, garnish
Method and Steps:
- Add all ingredients through pomegranate molasses to cocktail shaker. Add ice. Shake to combine..
- Strain off the ice and pour into hurricane shaped cocktail glasses filled with more ice.
- Garnish with orange wedge, mint and maraschino cherry
*NOTE: Prepare simple syrup by boiling 1/2 cup water and 1 cup sugar in small saucepan until sugar is dissolved. Stir frequently. Cool, store in refrigerator.
**NOTE: Pomegranate molasses gave a greyish tint to the drink. If desired, substitute grenadine syrup for a red color or add a drop of red food coloring to the cocktail.