The Hurricane.

The Hurricane. (Jazmine Johnson, Baltimore Sun / November 25, 2013)

I'm going to admit -- I was pretty skeptical when I heard about a revamped Hard Rock Cafe Baltimore.

Though the Hard Rock chain itself has become a piece of classic Americana about classic Americana, its presence in Baltimore over the years has always seemed lackluster, underwhelming and painfully touristy. Fancy a cocktail? Hard Rock would not immediately, if ever, cross the transom of my mind. But I might have to reconsider my options after recently taking a tour around their new drink menu and spotting a Hurricane among the offerings.

The Hurricane, as in the drink of choice on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. As in, conjuring memories of this time last year, when the Ravens had a Big Easy Super Bowl nearly locked inside their claws. And, well, a year later I'm doing anything I can to relive the glory of being in Louisiana last February to cheer on my team. That's what The Hurricane — and really all of the cocktails on Hard Rock's menu — are: classic drinks, made better.

Hard Rock underwent a complete renovation in October, in line with the brand's new design aesthetic of returning to simple, iconic American rock and roll style. Renovations to the Baltimore branch included a remodeled stage for live music events, a new outdoor seating area and an updated bar program. Aside from catching my eye, the Hurricane also happens to be the Baltimore branch's most popular drink and has been on their menu, in some variety, for over 40 years.

This latest version puts the Bourbon street original (at least the half dozen or so I imbibed early this year) to absolute shame. A likely reason is the quality of ingredients. Manager Jamie Legg explains that Hard Rock's Hurricane is different because of the purposeful choice of spirits. "We use premium brands and [pride ourselves] on the freshness of our ingredients." But she is also quick to point out a similarity to the New Orleans version: the take-home drink ware. For $12.99 you get a big ole rumbling blend of orange, mango and pineapple juice mixed with Bacardi Superior Rum, Bacardi Select Rum, Disaronno Amaretto and Grenadine and the glass, as a souvenir. Pretty sweet deal. Unlike the original Hurricane, which typically leaves you thirstier with its chalky, sour-laden aftertaste, this one is refreshing and well-blended — dare I say fruit smoothie-esque.

How to Make The Hurricane

1 part Bacardi Light Rum

2 parts Orange juice

2 parts Pineapple juice

2 parts Finest Call Mango Puree

1/2 part Grenadine (float)

1 part Disaronno Amaretto

2 parts Bacardi Select Rum

1 orange

1 cherry

Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker, shake well. Strain into a hurricane glass. Top with Grenadine and garnish with a cherry and a slice of orange.

Where to Get The Hurricane

Hard Rock Cafe Baltimore

601 E .Pratt St., Inner Harbor

410-347-7625

hardrock.com

$12.99