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The Craft

The ultimate resource for alcohol beverage news, trends and reports for bars, distributors and suppliers.

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  • by: The Provi Team
  • 5 min read

Blue Hawaii Cocktail

As clear and blue as the ocean in which its namesake sits, the Blue Hawaii is a popular favorite at Tikis, swim-ups, clubs and dive bars everywhere. Its bright colors, fun presentation and delicious taste promise a good time to whoever is ordering this technicolor cocktail whether you’re partying in Maui or working an oasis in the Nevada desert. Sweet, bright, fruity and strong, a Blue Hawaii cocktail will always feel like a little taste of island paradise. 

And like most iconic cocktails, the Blue Hawaii drink has a rich history that dates back to well before the age of light-up party floors and floating DJ booths. Let’s take a closer look at the story of the Blue Hawaiian and learn what it takes to make this true blue beverage. 

History of the Blue Hawaii Cocktail

To effectively recount the story of the Blue Hawaiian drink, we have to step a little further back and talk about the history of one of the cocktail’s most critical ingredients from which it gets its signature color: Blue Curaçao. 

Blue Curaçao, sometimes called creme de ciel (“cream of heaven”) was, surprise surprise, not always blue. In fact, the genre of Curaçao liqueur still comes in multiple colors, including red, orange, green, crystal, and the immediately recognizable blue. The first iteration of Curaçao was colorless, but the inventor may have experimented with Butterfly Pea flowers as an early way of giving the ingredient its hue. 

Curaçao is notable for the orange flavor it contributes to cocktails, and is named after the island on which the specific variety of citrus that goes into the liqueur were originally grown. 

In the late 1400s, Spanish colonizers stole the island Curaçao from the native Arawaks, and used the land to plant seeds which they had brought with them from Europe, including those of the Valencia orange. After a few generations of these trees were planted, a new and totally unique variety of orange developed, known as the Lahara orange. Offering bitter fruit and not much else, it wasn’t until the mid 1600s, when the Netherlands took over Curaçao, that the true power of the Lahara orange was discovered. A Dutch distiller named Lucas Bols experimented with spices, cane-sugar alcohol, and the dried peels of the Lahara orange fruit to create a prototypical version of the liqueur we know and love today. 

Fast forward to the 1950s, and zoom in on a bar in the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki. Beverage inventor extraordinaire Harry Yee, head bartender at the hotel, is approached by the still-functioning Bols Distillery and asked to make a drink including the company’s trademark product: Blue Curaçao. The Blue Hawaiian mixed drink was born, and the rest is history. 

Blue Hawaii Cocktail Recipe

Not a whole lot has changed in the past 67 years since the Blue Hawaiian cocktail recipe was first created, but there are a few key differences between Harry Yee’s original Blue Hawaii and the drink served at Tiki bars world wide today. Let’s take a look. 

Blue Hawaii Ingredients

The original Blue Hawaii was a relatively straightforward cocktail and included the following 5 ingredients:

  • 3 ounces of fresh pineapple juice
  • 1 ounce of sweet and sour mix
  • ½ ounce of Bols Blue Curaçao
  • ¾ ounces of vodka (grain-based vodka is arguably the best blue hawaiian vodka)
  • ¾ ounces of Puerto Rican light rum

Most recipes still draw from this list, however the inclusion of one new ingredient has led to the invention of an almost identical cocktail.

Let’s quickly discuss the difference between a Blue Hawaii vs. Blue Hawaiian. 

Blue Hawaii vs Blue Hawaiian

A Blue Hawaiian uses all of the same Blue Hawaii drink ingredients. The only real difference is that a Blue Hawaiian drink recipe calls for 1 ounce of coconut cream. That’s it, that’s the difference. Still just as delicious, still just as easy to make. 

If you’re just dying for one of these iconic cocktails but can’t get your hands on some of the key ingredients, you can buy a Blue Hawaiian mix and just add vodka, rum and water for a quicktail. If you’re looking for a Blue Hawaiian non-alcoholic recipe, follow this recipe and make your sober-friendly beverage with blue Hawaiian punch mix, pineapple juice, and lemon-lime soda. 

How to Make a Blue Hawaii

Gather your Blue Hawaii cocktail ingredients:

  • ¾ ounces of your favorite vodka
  • ¾ ounces of your favorite light rum
  • ½ ounce of blue curaçao
  • 3 ounces of pineapple juice OR crushed pineapple
  • 1 ounce of sweet and sour mix OR ½ ounce of fresh lemon juice
  • ½ ounce of simple syrup
  • 1 pineapple (fresh or canned, we won’t judge.)
  • Ice
  • ¾ ounces of coconut cream (optional)

You will also need a blender (if you’re taking the crushed-ice approach), a hurricane glass, and a cocktail umbrella for serving. 

Step 1: Fill your hurricane glass to the brim with ice.

Step 2: Pour your vodka, light rum, Blue Curaçao, pineapple juice, lemon juice and simple syrup over extra ice into a cocktail shaker or blender. If you’re blending your Blue Hawaii, skip step 1 and add your ingredients to the blender. 

Step 3: Shake until chilled, or blend until desired consistency is achieved.

Step 4: Strain into Hurricane glass over your whole, crushed or pebbled ice. 

Step 5: Garnish with fresh or canned pineapple and a cocktail umbrella. 

Step 6: Serve with an “Aloha” and enjoy!

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