Hand Grenade Drink in New Orleans: What’s the Story?

 Two of the many things that have originated in New Orleans are the Hand Grenade and the Po’ Boy. 

Before I visited New Orleans, people I met were quick to tell me about Bourbon Street and the crazy partying there. “You have to get a hand grenade”, they would tell me. “Be careful though, those things are deadly, one is enough!”

The other thing people raved about was the creole food-  gumbo, fried oysters, boiled crawfish, beignets, jambalaya…and of course, the po’ boys.

Of course I had to try them both…

Hand Grenades

Hand Grenade New Orleans

On Bourbon Street you’ll find a special cocktail called the Hand Grenade, which is marketed as “New Orleans Most Powerful Drink”. I have no idea what’s inside it, but what I do know is I woke up the next morning feeling like I had consumed too many energy drinks. The Hand Grenade is sold exclusively by Tropical Isle through five licensed nightclub bars in the French Quarter of New Orleans. It’s basically a fluorescent green plastic yard glass with a round bottom that’s shaped like a grenade. You can drink in the streets in New Orleans, so you just walk around with your hand grenade then get a refill for at a discounted price.

There’s a lot of secrecy surrounding what’s inside the drink, but what they do say is that it has a melon flavour with lots of liqueurs and other secret ingredients.

According to 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. Females may be prompted to “Flash” for beads

Drink #5 You’re on your own!

Po’ Boys

Po' Boys New Orleans

You’ll find po’boys on the menu in most restaurants in New Orleans. The New Orleans po’ boy is kind of like a submarine sandwich that’s typical to the state of Louisiana. A po’ boy consists of French bread that has a crispy crust and fluffy centre, with either roast beef or fried seafood inside. The one in the picture above is a sauteed-shrip po’ boy I ordered at Gumbo Shop- it isn’t quite your typical looking po’ boy but you can see the idea.

I was curious about the origin of the name po’ boy, so I looked it up on the Wikipedia page and this is what I found:

“In the late 1800s fried oyster sandwiches on French loaves were known in New Orleans and San Francisco as “oyster loaves”, a term still in use. The sandwich was alternately called a “peacemaker” or “La Mediatrice”.

There are countless stories as to the origin of the term po’ boy. The more popular theory claims that “po’ boy” was coined in a New Orleans restaurant owned by Benny and Clovis Martin (originally from Raceland, LA), former streetcar conductors. In 1929, during a four-month strike against the streetcar company, the Martin brothers served their former colleagues free sandwiches. The Martins’ restaurant workers jokingly referred to the strikers as “poor boys”, and soon the sandwiches themselves took on the name. In Louisiana dialect, this is naturally shortened to po’ boy.”

All I know is the po’ boy is delicious! One of the things I enjoy most about travel is the cuisine in different places, and New Orleans didn’t disappoint. I’m completely addicted to seafood, and I’m happy to say I was in seafood HEAVEN in Louisiana.

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