NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The co-founder of a chain of bars in New Orleans’ French Quarter who helped create an iconic cocktail known as the “hand grenade” has died.
NOLA.com reports that Earl Bernhardt died Thursday at the age of 80. One of his daughters, Jennifer Bernhardt Scott, told the news site he was at his New Orleans home.
A cause of death was not disclosed, but NOLA.com said in recent years he had suffered from a series of heart problems.
The frozen, lime green “hand grenade” is a common site along Bourbon Street. It’s served in a tall-necked plastic container with a smiling hand grenade at its base. The recipe is a secret, but reportedly includes vodka, gin and melon liquor.
Bernhardt was a morning radio personality and country music disc jockey before he got into the bar business. The “hand grenade” was inspired by plastic squirt guns in the shape of hand grenades that he and his business partner, Pam Fortner, found while looking for trinkets for a St. Patrick’s Day parade, according to NOLA.com.
A federal trademark protected the drink’s name and concept, and Bernhardt sued imitators.