Mar 19, 2024 - News

Spring break's hottest shot comes with a slap to the face

A bartender slaps a customer as part of a "hurricane shot"

One "hurricane" shot coming right up! Photo: Courtesy of Gabriela Barbieri/@gabbycpbphotography

Spring breakers are lining up to get slapped in the face by a South Florida bartender whose $30 "hurricane" shots have become the hottest ticket in town.

Why it matters: Bartender Aiyana Callas has built a business selling her signature slap shots — liquor chased with a wet smack across the face as her alter ego, "Hurricane Aiyana," dumps a pitcher of water on the drinker's head.

  • And business is booming: So far this March, Callas tells Axios she is selling 150–200 hurricane shots a night at Backyard Fort Lauderdale. (At $30 a pop, that's as much as $6,000 a night.)
  • She says she has seen spring breakers migrating north from South Beach amid a government crackdown there.

How it works: The 26-year-old Nova Southeastern University graduate didn't invent the hurricane shot but put her own spin on it with acrobatic moves and wrestling-style theatrics that helped her go viral on social media.

  • Callas created her own entertainment company and a website where she accepts bookings for private parties.
  • She tells Axios she works at Backyard as a freelancer, purchasing shots from the bar and reselling them to customers. Last spring break, she worked 45 days in a row from 8pm–5am, she says.
  • Her shot menu includes the traditional $30 hurricane — liquor choice up to the slapee — and upcharge variations where she spins, does a "Matrix"-style backbend or hits you with combination smacks.

What she's saying: Callas says she's been bartending since she was 18 years old, but only started selling hurricane shots last March.

  • She says she saw immediate demand from spring breakers, who pay for the Instagrammable moment and to have a story to tell their friends.
  • "They think it's entertaining, they think it's funny, they think that it's an experience," Callas says. "It's really just all in good fun."
  • Since last March, the Instagram account she created to share hurricane videos has racked up 11,000 followers.

Reality check: Callas says participants give their consent before being slapped, and she makes sure not to hit them hard.

  • "I am 100% a performer at best and I'm really good at making it look like I'm slapping them as hard as I can. But I am absolutely not slapping them as hard as I can," she says.
  • "At the end of the day these are kids and I'm always trying to keep them safe."

The intrigue: Callas, who lives on her sailboat, typically only bartends about two months out of the year. When she's not in Fort Lauderdale for spring break, she's cruising the world.

  • Her goal is to become a sailing vlogger on YouTube and spend her life on the water.
  • "There's no other way I'd rather live."
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