Weekly Cocktail #19: The Blue Hawaii

Blue Hawaii cocktail.

Oh yes we did!

With the Fourth of July holiday coming we tend to see some “red, white and blue” themed drinks coming our way and last week Carolyn suddenly said, “I want a Blue Hawaii”. Ok then, time to buy some blue Curaçao.

For those of you unfamiliar with the drink, the Blue Hawaii combines pineapple juice, sweet and sour mix (lemon juice and simple syrup), rum, vodka, blue Curaçao and any garnish you want to come up with. When mixed, the final color is a blue/green that certainly stands out. And the drink, to be fair, is a pretty tasty summer sip. The white rum and the vodka let the pineapple juice lead in the drink, with the Curaçao and sweet and sour rounding out the flavors. But make no mistake, the blue Curaçao is mostly there for color.

Blue Hawaii and ingredients.

So what is blue Curaçao? Curaçao is a liqueur from the island of Curaçao in the Caribbean. Hundreds of years ago, European settlers brought Lahara citrus, similar to Valencia oranges, to the island with hopes of developing them as a crop. But it turned out that the soil and weather were unsuitable for sweet oranges and the fruit was very bitter, only the peel tasted like a regular orange. But when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. Or if life gives you too much or too nasty fruit (or skins and seeds) you make booze. In the early 19th century locals began making a liqueur from the bitter orange peels and we get Curaçao. Add some (very) artificial color and you get blue Curacao. The blue color was/is supposed to help market the liqueur.

In fact, according to “master of all things tiki” Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, the blue Hawaii was created specifically to help market blue Curaçao. In the 1950′s the Bols company had Harry K. Yee, the bartender at the Hawaiian Village Hotel in Waikiki invent the drink to build interest in blue Curaçao. It’s unclear how successful this campaign was in drumming up interest in blue Curaçao, but it is still around. You can buy blue Curaçao for $10-$20 and it will be gathering dust somewhere in most liquor stores.. ;-)

But the Blue Hawaii is a light, tasty drink and it is certainly worth making. Not only does it taste good, it starts conversations of the “remember when we went to X and did X” variety. And that is a good thing. Cocktails should evoke fun and conversation, and the Blue Hawaii will certainly provide some of both. Happy 4th!

The Blue Hawaii:

Ingredients:

  • 3 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1 oz. sweet and sour mix (2 parts lemon juice, 1 part simple syrup)
  • 1/2 oz. blue Curaçao
  • 3/4 oz. white rum
  • 3/4 oz. vodka
  • Pineapple wedge, lime wheel, orange wheel, mint or cherry for garnish.

Assemble:

  1. Combine all liquid ingredients with plenty of ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake thoroughly and pour into a tall glass. Garnish with whatever fruit you have. Serve.

22 thoughts on “Weekly Cocktail #19: The Blue Hawaii

    • I am with you, but this is the “official” recipe. Not sure most white rum adds that much anyway (some will). This is a pineapple drink, plain and simple, the vodka doesn’t get in the way. But our guests love it when we make them…

  1. LOVE this one! It was our “signature drink” at our wedding…mainly because it matched the pool blue wedding colors, and also because my husband grew up in Hawaii. It’s not my favorite cocktail (no gin!), but it is summer fun in a glass and you really can’t beat that in this weather!

  2. 4th of July…Elvis reference…can’t do any better than that! I think I love the names of the cocktails more than the mixed drinks! This is for a pool party with Frankie and Annette! Oh yes, and Elvis! Debra

  3. What does the blue curacao taste like compared to other curacaos? I’m curious, because I kind of want to buy it, but can’t think of much reason aside form making a Blue Hawaii.

    • Senior Curacao is good stuff- no difference between clear and blue other than color. More (different) orange and spice flavor than cointreau or grand mariner.

      Bols Blue Curacao, is not really anything other than blue sugar…Low-cost is the only advantage.

      • Thanks. I’ll probably get the Marie Brizzard at some point, as that’s what’s available here and also has a reputation for good quality. Want to get the orange curacao first, though.

  4. I used to enjoy Curaçao Italian sodas when I was younger, but it’s been years since I’ve had one.

    If I could find Curaçao around here (I doubt I can), I’d make some of these next Monday when that trash TV show favorite of mine The Bachelorette visits the actual Curaçao;)

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