The Iconic Pat O’Brien’s Glass: A Symbol of New Orleans’ Rich History and Vibrant Culture


In the heart of the French Quarter in New Orleans, there is a place that has become synonymous with the city’s famous cocktails and lively atmosphere – Pat O’Brien’s. Nestled on St. Peter Street, this iconic establishment has been serving visitors and locals for over 85 years, offering a true taste of the Big Easy. One of the most recognizable features of Pat O’Brien’s is its signature glassware – the Pat O’Brien’s glass. In this article, we will explore the history behind this legendary glass and how it has come to represent not only a drink but also an experience deeply rooted in New Orleans’ rich history and vibrant culture.

Origins of Pat O’Brien’s Glass

The origins of the Pat O’Brien’s glass can be traced back to the 1940s when it was first introduced as a hurricane lamp. The hurricane cocktail itself was created by Pat O’Brien during World War II when whiskey was in short supply but rum was abundant. To utilize surplus rum, he concocted a deliciously strong and fruity drink that became an instant hit among soldiers stationed in New Orleans. Initially served in any available glassware, it wasn’t until later that these unique hurricane lamps were repurposed into glasses, which would eventually come to be associated exclusively with Pat O’Brien’s.

Iconic Design and Symbolism

The design of the Pat O’Brien’s glass is both distinctive and visually striking. It resembles a large tulip-shaped goblet with a curved stem and a wide bowl capable of holding up to 32 ounces (over 900 milliliters) of liquid. The most defining feature is its vibrant color; each glass comes in bright red or green hues adorned with gold filigree patterns depicting flaming torches.

Beyond their aesthetics, these glasses hold cultural significance for both locals and tourists alike. They are often viewed as a symbol of celebration, merriment, and indulgence – all qualities that embody the spirit of New Orleans. Owning a Pat O’Brien’s glass is not only a reminder of good times spent in the city but also a token of being part of something larger, an experience that bonds people together through the shared love for this iconic establishment.

The Hurricane Cocktail Experience

Drinking from a Pat O’Brien’s glass goes far beyond the act itself; it represents an entire experience centered around the Hurricane cocktail. The Hurricane is made with a secret blend of rums and tropical fruit juices, served over crushed ice, and garnished with an orange slice and cherry on top. These sweet and potent concoctions are then poured into the distinctive Pat O’Brien’s glassware.

Sipping on a Hurricane from one of these famous glasses transports you to another era, evoking memories of jazz-filled nights, lively conversations among friends, and carefree dancing in the French Quarter. It encapsulates the essence of New Orleans: vibrant music, flavorful cuisine, warm hospitality, and unapologetic revelry.

Collecting Pat O’Brien’s Glasses

For many aficionados, collecting Pat O’Brien’s glasses has become a beloved pastime. Some patrons try to collect both red and green variants to create an impressive display at home or to gift them as souvenirs to friends or family who share their enthusiasm for New Orleans’ culture. Others may seek out vintage editions or limited edition releases that pay homage to significant events or milestones in the bar’s history.

Regardless of their motivation for collecting, each individual glass carries its own unique story – reminding us that every visit to Pat O’Brien’s is distinct and cherished by those lucky enough to have experienced it firsthand.


The Pat O’Brien’s glass stands as an iconic symbol representing not only New Orleans’ rich history and vibrant culture but also the spirit of celebration and camaraderie that defines this city. Its distinctive design, vibrant colors, and association with the famous Hurricane cocktail make it instantly recognizable and highly sought after by locals and tourists alike.

Whether you’ve had the pleasure of sipping a Hurricane from one of these legendary glasses or dream of doing so in the future, there is no denying the allure they hold. As you raise the Pat O’Brien’s glass to your lips, take a moment to appreciate the history it represents, the memories it holds, and toast to the joyous spirit that continues to flow through New Orleans’ veins.