Curacao Orange is orange liqueur from the peels of a certain type of sour-orange. It’s named after the West Indian island of Curacao, where this type of sour-orange is almost exclusively grown.
Curacao Orange is often sold under the label “Red Orange”.
Curaçao is a liqueur flavored with the dried peel of the laraha citrus fruit, grown on the island of Curaçao. 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 flavor with varying degrees of bitterness. It is naturally colorless, but is often given artificial coloring, 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 flavors added, such as coffee, chocolate, and rum and raisin.