Make this Bourbon Street classic right at home.
Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media

When thinking of New Orleans, the first thing that likely comes to mind is partying at Mardi Gras with a stiff cocktail. Forget the hurricane cocktail. Instead, make way for the New Orleans Hand Grenade! This potent drink may as well be known as the city’s signature cocktail with its potent kick and laid-back vibe. The fact that it is easily portable makes the Hand Grenade the perfect drink to tote while spending a day strolling Bourbon Street and exploring the city of New Orleans.

History of the Hand Grenade

The laid-back drink is fluorescent green in color, a highly potent punch said to have been invented by Earl Bernhardt and Pam Fortner, business partners who transformed their drink stand at the 1984 World's Fair into a Bourbon Street empire of French Quarter bars like the chain of Tropical Isle bars.

Their signature and trademarked cocktail, the Hand Grenade, is known as the strongest drink in New Orleans. While they keep the exact Hand Grenade recipe under lock and key, there are other recipes out there that can recreate the classic cocktail.

Tropical Isle Hand Grenade Do’s and Don’ts

While the bar keeps its exact recipe top secret, they do admit to the Hand Grenade having “a wonderful melon flavor drink with lots of liqueurs and other secret ingredients” that round out the potent cocktail. While the Hand Grenade may not have a strong taste, the Tropical Isle proprietors recommend proceeding with caution: “The Hand Grenade drink has a kick!! It’s much stronger and better than a Hurricane,” say the pros at Tropical Isle, adding that: “Our specialty Hand Grenade cups are proudly made in the USA.”

The Hand Grenade Drinking Guide

Drink #1. Will lift your spirits and make you happy!

Drink #2: Will give you a nice buzz.

Drink #3: Will result in complete loss of your inhibitions.

Drink #4: Will cause you to dance in the streets.

Drink #5: You’re on your own!


We don’t recommend Drink #5!

DIY Hand Grenade Recipe

Recreate this potent punch at home using this adapted recipe. Warning: It’s not for the faint of heart! Combining multiple liquors in one drink makes for a strong, stiff, potent cocktail.

Total Time: 5 minutes | Prep Time: 5 minutes | Serves: 1


  • 1½ ounces gin
  • 1½ ounces grain alcohol
  • 1½ ounces melon liqueur
  • 1½ ounces vodka
  • 1½ ounces rum


  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with crushed ice.

  2. Add all ingredients to the shaker and shake very well.

  3. Fill a collins, highball or cocktail glass of choice with ice.

  4. Strain the drink mixture into the glass and serve. Cheers!

When recreating the Hand Grenade cocktail at home, make it Mardi Gras and Bourbon Street worthy by serving it in a yard-long neon reusable glass. (That's how it's served in the French Quarter's popular Tropical Isle bars). Sip, savor, stroll and enjoy!