You don’t have to physically harvest an iceberg to pull off this tangy and refreshing drink that’s a tropical cocktail party staple. With its layered vivid blue hues, it’s a fun drink and a playful twist on your typical orange flavoured cocktail. The main ingredient, which gives it its signature colour, is Blue Curaçao. It’s basically triple sec, dyed blue. Cocktail snobs may keep it on their back shelf, in favour of more natural liqueurs that are dyed naturally. Unfortunately for the Blue Curaçao, no one has yet been able to recreate its colour by natural means. We’re all for eating natural, but a bit of food colouring can be a lot of fun, especially since blue isn’t associated with orange flavour, and the dissonance between what we see and what we taste with this drink can be fun.
Fill a cocktail glass with ice and leave it in the fridge. Once frosted, place large, chunky ice cubes into the glass. Pour your vodka of choice over the ice and squeeze half a lime. Add Blue Curaçao then, but by all means do try to switch the order of during from time to time the colour layering definitely changes, so try and find your favourite. Top up the rest of the glass with sparking water. You could use tonic, and at your regular tiki bar, sprite is often preferred. However, we think the Blue Curaçao is sweet enough that a sugar and sweetener free mixer is best. Whatever you do, do not mix the drink. Part of its charm is the subtle layering of sparkling water over the dense blue syrup. Decorate with a lime twist and serve with a cocktail stick so your guest can mix it themselves when they are ready to drink.
Fun Facts about Blue Curaçao
Blue Curaçao is made from a variant of the Spanish Valencia orange, brought to the Caribbean island by Spanish explorers. The fruit which was borne on the island’s nutrient poor soil was inedible, but the skin proved to be deliciously aromatic. Lots of different types of orange flavoured liqueurs are made from this peel. In the 19th century, perhaps in an attempt at product variation, a distiller (some believe this distiller to be the Dutch company, Bols) added food colouring to it. You can read the whole story here. Letherbee Distillers, an artisanal distillery from the USA have attempted to recreate the liquor with natural colouring extracted from the flower of the Butterfly Pea, also know as the Clitoria Ternatea, which is used to colour food blue in South East Asian cooking. It is popularised by an episode in Gordan Ramsey’s Great Escape. Unfortunately, being a natural compound, the colouring breaks down easily when exposed to sunlight and has a shelf life of about a month. Hipster Blue Curaçao is still a while away, but in the meantime, we can all indulge in the syrup’s 70’s vibe and a bit of vintage drunkeness.