The hand grenade cocktail is one of those drinks that calls to you from the bar counter. The first time I saw the packaging I was like ‘I have to have that!’ And the taste was just as good as the packaging.

There is a thrill that comes from drinking a cocktail that comes packaged in the form of a hand grenade. I felt like I was living on the edge and the buzz helped too. And of course, knowing the way I like making things for myself, I knew that it was only a matter of time before I made my hand grenade drink recipe. And I finally did!

What is in the Bourbon Street Hand Grenade?

The first thing I did was go online, hoping that I could find detailed instructions on how to make the drink before I made my alterations. However, this was not entirely possible as the manufacturers keep the ingredients secret.

All I learned was that there were many liqueurs in play as well as some special ingredients that resulted in the fantastic melon flavors that I had come to love.

So all I knew at that point was that the drink had quite a kick to it and that its taste was not that strong. Compared to a hurricane, the hand grenade was way stronger and much tastier, so I had some foundation at that stage. This basis wasn’t much to work with, and I had to do some analyses of my own.

Getting down to the basics

There are lots of fake hand grenades going around, and that is something that the company has had to deal with over the years. Now and then Tropical Isle comes down hard on individuals making these drinks for commercial use, and most of the times, the contents do not match the original recipes.

And I found out the hard way when I went on sampling sprees that ended up in me twisting my face in disgust. Yes, there are fake grenades out there so if you see someone selling something in a green cup; it does not necessarily mean that you are getting the real deal.

So instead of heading to the bars now and then in search of the authentic hand grenade, I opted to get the pre-packaged mixes that the company sells, and from there I was able to come up with a few recipes that I tried out on my friends. The things they go through for me to get things done, LOL!

The guide to drinking hand grenades

I should start you off with how the drink works before I get to how I finally achieved the right recipe as well as how it all came to be. Drink according to how high you want to be at the end of the night. The first drink will hit you slowly, and you will feel your spirits getting higher by the minute.

If you are looking for a shot to get you in the party mood, then one glass of the hand grenade will do. It’s an easy way to get happy without getting in people’s faces.

The second drink is where things begin to get blurry. The nice buzz begins, and you feel yourself becoming friendlier to the people around you. The conversation starts flowing, and you let go of your worries.

The world becomes a magical place, and you cannot help but enjoy the moment. It is at this point that you should probably take a water break, but if you’re feeling like taking things to the next level, then you should take another drink.

The third drink will have you feeling a bit unbound.

The best way to put it is that you will lose your inhibitions and will start acting in a manner that you would not necessarily respond, were it not for the hand grenade. It is at this point that you start dancing to music in your head, making speeches, calling your boss and letting them know that you finally quit and confessing your feelings to your crush.

It’s a great feeling, but you’ll probably dread your actions the next day. It is for this reason that I lock away my phone when drinking at night.

The fourth drink is a bad idea but if you’re feeling it, then go ahead and down another hand grenade. Do not get surprised if you end up dancing on tables and undressing in front of strangers. You should probably stop drinking at this point but some brave souls down drink number five, and that’s where everything becomes a blur.

My friend once had five of these drinks at a go, and we spent two days looking for her. It wasn’t a pretty experience, but she turned out alright. Pace yourself when it comes to these drinks.


The hand grenade would not be a specialty cocktail were it not for Pam Fortner and Earl Bernhardt who came up with the idea in 1984. Once they introduced it in their Tropical Isle Bar in New Orleans, the drink became a big hit, owing to its taste and the impressive hand grenade drink cups in which they served the cocktail.

The cocktail grew to be one of the most potent drinks in the region and anyone who has had the drink can attest to how strong it is.

The owners have been cautious with their invention and have gone ahead to ensure that anyone who works with them safeguards the recipe by signing a confidentiality agreement. If you wish to enjoy a hand grenade drink in new Orleans, you can only do it in select outlets in New Orleans or order the ready-mix online.

It is thus quite hard to tell what is really in this signature drink.

Thanks to the secrecy around the hand grenade ingredients as well as the trademarks surrounding it, people have opted to make this drink under different names across the globe. You can, therefore, find that you have tasted the drink only that it goes by a different name where you did.

The flavor is not that hard to replicate, and any good bartender will know what ingredients they can mix to get the flavors that characterize this excellent cocktail. Though one is set to have a hangover after downing one or two of these drinks, it is worth the experience, and for this reason, people keep coming back for more.

For trademark reasons as well as protection from future lawsuits, I advise that you only use this recipe for home use and not for commercial purposes. Failure to do this will result in a messy situation, and it is important to note that Tropical Isle Bar hardly ever loses a case when it comes to infringement of their rights to the cocktail. That said; let’s get down to making the drink.

The Best Hand Grenade Drink Recipe


  • Forty-six milliliters of gin
  • Forty-five milliliters of grain alcohol
  • Forty-five milliliters of melon liqueur
  • Forty-five milliliters of rum
  • Forty-five milliliters of vodka


  • Ice cubes
  • Collins glass
  • Shaker
  • Water
  • Sugar


The water and sugar are optional, and their addition or lack thereof is dependent on your preferences. Either way, the cocktail will taste great. This recipe is enough for one serving. If you wish to make more drinks, you can adjust the ingredients accordingly, and it will not affect the taste.

If you want to make a lot of hand grenade shots simultaneously, I advise that you use a bar pitcher as it will be more effective.


Start by pouring the liqueurs into a cocktail shaker. Next, add ice cubes to the shaker to chill the liquids.

The best size to use would be medium sizes as they can help cool the drink for long without melting. Cap the shaker and shake it vigorously to ensure that all the ingredients evenly combine.

You can now taste the cocktail to see if you like it as it is or you need to make any additions.

You can add sugar to the drink to make it tasty if you feel that it is not sweet enough. I, however, prefer using simple syrup which is easy to make. Start by combining equal parts of water and sugar before placing them on heat to ensure that all the solids dissolve.

Leave the mixture at room temperature to allow it to cool, and you can then use it in the cocktail. If you plan on using syrup, be sure to make it long before mixing the liqueurs.

There is another thing that can happen with this drink where you find that the taste is too strong for you even after adding the syrup. In such a case, it is okay to dilute the cocktail with water until you get to a level with which you are comfortable. Next, you can add fresh juice from fruit to add melon flavors to the drink. I use either honeydew or cantaloupe, and the results are just great.

When it comes to fruit juices, you will get the most out of them if they are fresh. The best thing to do is to extract the juices a few minutes before you start the preparation. Add the fruit juices to the shaker and mix well to ensure that the drink soaks in the flavors.

You can now add a few ice cubes to a glass and serve the drink immediately. The exciting thing about this cocktail is that you can serve it without garnish and it would still taste great, and I prefer to do it without any. You can now enjoy your drink, keeping in mind that the buzz gets stronger with each glass.

Tips on Hacking This Cocktail

One of the things that you have to pay attention to is the ratio of liqueurs. When making this drink for a large crowd of people, it is easy to think of doing away with measurements, but this can have very unpleasant results. Follow the recipe throughout the stages.

Go for big ice cubes if you are making this cocktail for many people. It will melt at a slow rate as compared to several small ice cubes. Ultimately, it will work toward enhancing the flavors as it will not dilute the drink too much.

You could make your drink pop more if you were to serve it out of a watermelon. Not only would it enhance the fruity flavors but it would be a nice addition to the bar.

When it comes to this explosive cocktail, I do not encourage much improvising as it is a bit technical. Follow the hand grenade drink recipe as it is and you will end up with what you would find in a New Orleans bar. Remember to take it one drink at a time. Thank you for reading this!


Peter's path through the culinary world has taken a number of unexpected turns. After starting out as a waiter at the age of 16, he was inspired to go to culinary school and learn the tricks of the trade. As he delved deeper, however, his career took a sudden turn when a family friend needed someone to help manage his business. Peter now scratches his culinary itch on the internet by blogging, sharing recipes, and socializing with food enthusiasts worldwide.

Write A Comment