Blue Curacao is a sweet blue liqueur, distilled and flavored from the dried peel of bitter oranges. It can also contain distillates of lemons and curacao fruit, sugar and wine. The Caribbean island of Curacao is host to much of the fruit used in these liqueurs.
Blue Curacao is often used to induce color into cocktails and other mixed drinks.
History of Blue Curacao
Many people have been at a restaurant or bar and have seen the bright blue colored tropical drinks that are offered that contain Blue Curacao. They may have seen it sitting on the shelf at the bar, standing out from all the other dull colored bottles around it, or may have tried a drink that contains it as one of the ingredients. There are different brands of Blue Curacao that are available and not all are colored blue, but all have the same delicious, slightly tangy orange taste to them.
Curacao is an island in the Caribbean that is close to the north coast of Venezuela that was used since the 1400s by the Spanish while they were trying to expand their control into South America. In the 1600s the Dutch West India company took over control of the island and created a major harbor there that was eventually know for being a center to pirates. While the Spanish were in control of the island the sweet Valencia orange was brought to Curacao, but the soil and climate there did not work out to be an ideal growing climate for the orange.
The Valencia then evolved into a small and bitter citrus fruit called the laraha, which became know for the strong aroma present in the peel. Its flavor was not introduced into alcoholic drinks until the 1800s. The Curacao liquor is made from the dried peels of the laraha. The peels are dried to bring out the oil and fragrance and then they are soaked in alcohol and water for a couple of days. When it is ready the peels are removed and spices are added to distill the spirit. The blue coloring is added by many producers, hence the name Blue Curacao.
There are many different cocktails that you can add Blue Curacao to that will give them a blue coloring and twist of flavor. Some of these drinks that Blue Curacao will complement nicely are a Blue Margarita, a Bahama Mama, and a Blue Hawaii.
Curaçao can be colored orange (known as Orange Curaçao or only Curaçao), blue (Blue Curaçao), green (Green Curaçao) or left clear (White Curaçao). All variants have the same flavor, with small variations in bitterness. Blue and green Curaçao are often used to provide color to mixed drinks.
Curacao is a liqueur flavoured with the dried peel of the laraha citrus fruit, grown on the island of Curacao. A non-native plant similar to an orange, the laraha developed from the sweet Valencia orange transplanted by Spanish explorers. The nutrient-poor soil and arid climate of Curaçao proved unsuitable to Valencia cultivation, resulting in small bitter fruit on the trees. But the aromatic peel maintained much of the essence of the Valencia varietal, and the trees were eventually bred into the current laraha cultivar, whose fruits remain inedibly bitter.
The drink was first developed and marketed by the Senior family (an old Caribbean family of Spanish Jewish descent) in the 19th century. To create the liqueur the laraha peel is dried, bringing out the sweetly fragranced oils. After soaking in a still with alcohol and water for several days, the peel is removed and other spices are added.
The liqueur has an orange-like flavour with varying degrees of bitterness. It is naturally colourless, but is often given artificial colouring, most commonly blue or orange, which confers an exotic appearance to cocktails and other mixed drinks. Blue color is achieved by adding of food colorant most often E133 Brilliant Blue. High-end Curaçaos like Grand Marnier are based on cognac (or other aged spirits), giving the Curaçao a natural rust-orange colour.
Some other liqueurs are also sold as Curaçaos with different flavours added, such as coffee, chocolate, and rum and raisin.