Invented in 1957, the Blue Hawaiian cocktail was created at the Kaiser Hawaiian Village in Honolulu. The story goes that a salesperson for the European distiller Bols asked the famous bartender at the hotel, Harry Yee, to create a drink that featured their signature blue curaçao. This liqueur is made from the peel of the Laraha, a citrus fruit found in the Caribbean.
About the Cocktail
Harry Yee experimented with a number of different recipes. Eventually, he was happy with a creation that was made with blue curaçao, vodka, and rum, mixed with pineapple and sweet-and-sour. His cocktail is easily recognizable because of the bold blue color as well as the flamboyant garnish – usually a cocktail umbrella and a slice of pineapple resting on the rim of the glass.
To make the Blue Hawaii, the ingredients are added to ice and then shaken, then strained into a long glass. If you haven’t come across sweet-and-sour mix before, don’t worry! You can pick it up pre-mixed from grocery stores and some specialist outlets. However, you might like to make your own for a more vibrant final result. It’s super simple – the ingredients are just lime juice with sugar and a little water.
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How to Make a Blue Hawaiian Drink
A well renowned cocktail, the Blue Hawaii was actually created two years before Hawaii was made a state, but it is still the drink most commonly associated with the region. Yee, the cocktail’s creator, was the one to give it the same name as the film featuring Elvis Presley which was released in 1961.
Since its inception, the original recipe featured here has enjoyed great success and a large number of new versions have been made. In our recipe below we have offered alternative directions for a frozen Blue Hawaii, which is incredibly refreshing on a summer’s day. Adding crème de coconut makes it into a “Blue Hawaiian” for example. This variation is also sometimes referred to as a “Swimming Pool” cocktail because of the striking opaque blue color it has.
- 0.5 oz Blue Curaçao
- 0.75 oz Vodka
- 0.75 oz White Rum
- 3 oz pineapple juice
- 1 oz sweet-and-sour
- Pineapple slice and a cocktail umbrella to garnish
- Add all of the ingredients except the garnish items into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well
- Alternative method: blend all the ingredients with ice in an electric blender or with a stick blender for a frozen drink
- Strain from the shaker over crushed ice into a long glass or pour into a tall glass with no additional ice
- Finish the drink with a pineapple slice to garnish and a cocktail umbrella
If you want to make your own sweet-and-sour mix, simply mix one part water with one part sugar and add fresh lime juice to the mixture to taste.
Truly a classic drink, this one has enjoyed a long and noble history. Now synonymous with the Aloha State, this vibrant and delicious drink will surely continue to delight holidaymakers looking for a good time for years to come.