The laraha is a Caribbean citrus fruit, the dried peel of which is the crucial ingredient in the liqueur, curacao. Best known for making fabulous-looking drinks as blue curacao, it is the same base but with blue food coloring added. As the latter is mainly used to add a vibrant look to drinks, and the alcohol content is often only between 20% and 25%.
The cocktails ‘Blue Hawaii‘ and ‘Blue Lagoon‘ are two examples of cocktails that use blue curacao. Both created in the middle of the last century, they take their names from the housemade blue curacao that was most often used back then.
How to Create Housemade Blue Curacao
You can buy blue curacao from a store, but it is also possible to make your own. There was a bar called Kirkland Tap & Trotter, in Somerville, Massachusetts, that was well-known for their housemade version. It has now sadly closed. Nowadays, making blue curacao yourself is rarely recommended. Doing it yourself is very time-consuming, and there is no real benefit to using it over a store-bought bottle. But you still might want to give it a go, for old time’s sake.
You’ll need the peel from bitter oranges, orange zest, vodka, and gin. Put it all together and let it infuse together for twenty days. After nearly three weeks, the mixture will be ready to receive the next addition of cloves before it then has to steep for another day. Then, you need to add the blue additive, water, and sugar.
Homemade Blue Curacao
- Blue Food Coloring
- 6 Cups Water
- 8 Cups Sugar
- 1 Liter Gin
- 1 Liter Vodka
- 12 Navel Orange Zest
- 4 tbsp Dried Bitter Orange Peel
- 32 Cloves
- Combine the vodka, the gin, the orange zest and the dried bitter orange peel in a good-size container, and leave it for 20 whole days.
- Add 32 cloves and let sit for one additional day.
- Strain the liquid through a coffee filter.
- Once strained, add the sugar and water. Stir until dissolved.
- Add blue food coloring a few drops at a time until the desired color is reached.
Make Your Guests Say ‘Wow!’
You’ll then have a vivid blue liquid, ready to add a touch of zestiness to your cocktails. Making a large amount will keep giving your drinks the ‘wow factor’ for days to come. To complete the look, garnish the glass with a slice of citrus, like lime, lemon, or orange. Use a cocktail stick to secure a cherry to the slice for that final touch.
Why not give it a try for yourself? If nothing else, it’s a lot of fun to do.
Other Blue Drink Ideas
A classic margarita cocktail can be given a blue twist with the blue curacao addition. Replace the triple sec with the curacao and mix with the traditional tequila, lime juice, and orange slice. The cheekily named ‘Sex in the Driveway’ is a variant of the ‘Sex on the Beach‘ recipe. Use peach schnapps, vodka, Sprite, and blue curacao. It’s sweeter than ‘Beach’ as there’s no cranberry juice in it and, of course, the blue curacao gives it a lovely orange tang.