Blue cocktails don’t deserve the bad rap they get. Sure, the neon-hued liqueur that makes them blue is artificially colored, and no, it is not a craft spirit. But we’re still going to defend it because there are plenty of blue curaçao cocktails that aren’t overly saccharine. If you pair the liqueur with fresh citrus and high-quality spirits and ingredients, the drink is going to be just as good as if it was made with an orange liqueur—and it’ll be a lot more blue. If you need further proof, we gathered three blue tiki cocktails from three pro bartenders who use blue curaçao the right way. These drinks will forever change how you think about blue drinks and the liqueur used to turn them that electric hue.
3 Blue Tiki Drinks Beyond the Blue Hawaii
Created by bartender Marc Rizzuto of Grand Army in Brooklyn, New York, this vibrantly-hued cocktail is inspired by tiki classics like the Pearl Diver and Blue Hawaii. “If there is a blue drink on any menu, I will order it,” Rizzuto says. “Regardless of whether it is at a shitty chain restaurant or an amazing cocktail bar.” Made with herb-infused butter syrup, Strega (an herbaceous, saffron flavored Italian liqueur) and two different rums—including Rum Fire, an extremely funky, overproof rum from Jamaica—the Sapphire Shores is as boldly flavored as it is vividly-hued. “Rum and butter go together like lamb and tuna fish,” Rizzuto says. “Or, for more normal folk, spaghetti and meatballs.”
Herb-Infused Butter Syrup
While most tiki cocktails are rum-based, this psychedelic blue libation uses vodka as the main spirit. Created by Norman Strobel, head bartender at South House in Jersey City, New Jersey, the Texas Tiki cocktail is bright, layered with flavor, and almost too easy to drink. Absolut Elyx Vodka, which is creamy in texture and exceptionally smooth, is light enough to allow the vibrant fruitiness of pineapple juice to pop. Strobel combines a honey syrup with amaretto for sweetness and to give the drink a nutty, floral quality that’s reminiscent of the best orgeats. Between the drink’s fresh flavor and its electric blue hue, it is the ideal summer sipper.
Inspired by the Pinky Gonzales cocktail, Trader Vic’s tropical riff on the Margarita, this variation is even more delicious—and blue—than the original. Created by Brian Maxwell, extreme tiki enthusiast and head bartender at Jeepney in New York City, the Gonzo Gonzalez was designed to please his “tequila-loving guests.” Made with a split base of blanco tequila and mezcal, homemade falernum, and cashew orgeat, the drink is subtly smoky and nutty with lots of bright tropical flavors. While a poolside lounge chair would be an ideal locale to drink this icy blue cocktail, it is also an exceptional accompaniment to fatty, salty, pork-filled dishes, just like they do it at Jeepney.