The Hurricane Club, New York's recently opened Polynesian-inspired supper club, offers one of the most inventive, festive cocktail menus to be found anywhere. In fact New York hasn't seen anything like it since Trader Vic's was shuttered more than twenty years ago.
The cavernous, yet sophisticated and beautifully decorated 13,000-square foot space is complete with fresh-cut palm fronds, orchids and an assortment of island flora. In the center of the main room, aptly called The Hurricane Room, is an enormous 40-seat tiki bar perched under a resplendent crystal chandelier, enveloped by a multi-tiered, cascading, gold-chained fixture.
Luxist had the opportunity to discuss the extensive cocktail menu with its creator, Richard Leach, The Hurricane Club's executive pastry chef. Leach, who won the James Beard Foundation Award for Pastry Chef of the Year (1997), also serves as the director of the restaurant's cocktail department.
The celebrated pastry chef's first foray into the cocktail world resulted in an impressive menu. He created 35 tiki-inspired cocktails, each with its own element of surprise, from how the libations are served to the interesting array of ingredients that are used to create them. Numbered and categorized rather than named, the drinks are large, frozen and occasionally afire. The restaurant makes many of its own ingredients including the bitters, which aged for at least a week. Hurricane Club cocktails are extremely visual and served in interesting and often edible vessels, from a hollowed out melon to a red bell pepper and a coconut.