Blue Curacao is a bright blue liqueur that is commonly used to make fun and colorful cocktails. It has a distinct sweet and orange flavor and adds a vibrant pop of color. While Blue Curacao is a generic name for any blue liqueur of this type, there are two main forms of Blue Curacao drink mixers – premade Blue Curacao syrup and Blue Curacao liqueur.
The Differences Between Blue Curacao Syrup and Liqueur
Blue Curacao syrup and Blue Curacao liqueur are similar but have some key differences:
- Blue Curacao syrup is a non-alcoholic drink mixer made from artificial flavorings and dyes. It is very sweet and syrupy.
- Blue Curacao liqueur is an alcoholic spirit made from the dried peels of laraha citrus fruit, sugar, water, and colorings. It contains about 15-30% alcohol by volume.
- Blue Curacao syrup has a more artificial flavor while Blue Curacao liqueur has a natural citrus flavor from the laraha peels.
- Blue Curacao syrup is thinner in consistency while the liqueur is thicker with a syrupy texture.
- Blue Curacao syrup is cheaper to buy than the branded liqueurs.
So in summary, while Blue Curacao syrup and liqueur are both bright blue in color, the syrup is a non-alcoholic artificial drink mixer while the liqueur is an alcoholic spirit with a natural citrus flavor.
Origins of Blue Curacao
The origins of Blue Curacao lie in the Caribbean island of Curacao. In the 19th century, a predecessor to Blue Curacao called “Orange Curacao” was developed by the Senior family. They made the liqueur using a small bitter orange grown on the island called the Laraha. Laraha oranges grew abundantly on Curacao but weren’t good for eating. However, the dried peels could be used to infuse alcohol, creating a tasty citrusy liqueur.
To make their Orange Curacao stand out, the Senior family started adding blue food dye. This created the striking aqua blue color that Blue Curacao is now known for. It became popular both on the island and internationally as a fun and exotic cocktail ingredient.
Over time, as Blue Curacao spread around the world, artificial and less expensive versions were created using flavors and colors other than laraha orange peels. These non-alcoholic Blue Curacao syrups became a popular alternative used for cocktails and coloring drinks bright blue.
Making Blue Curacao Syrup at Home
While you can buy premixed Blue Curacao syrup, it’s also easy to make your own homemade version. Here is a simple recipe and instructions:
Blue Curacao Syrup Recipe
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups white sugar
- 1⁄4 cup corn syrup
- 1⁄4 teaspoon orange extract
- 20-30 drops blue food coloring
- Combine the sugar, corn syrup and water in a saucepan. Heat over medium, stirring frequently, until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in the orange extract and food coloring until fully combined. The amount of coloring will depend on how vibrant you want the blue color.
- Allow to cool completely then transfer the syrup to an airtight container. It will keep for 2-3 weeks refrigerated.
This easy 3-ingredient Blue Curacao syrup recipe allows you to customize the flavor and color. You can experiment with different extracts like lemon, lime, grapefruit or raspberry for your own unique flavors.
How to Use Blue Curacao Syrup
Blue Curacao syrup adds a burst of color and sweetness to any drink. Here are some ways to use it:
- Cocktails: Add 1-2 ounces of Blue Curacao syrup to margaritas, daiquiris, martinis or other cocktails.
- Non-alcoholic drinks: Add to lemonade, sodas, juices or iced tea for color. Use 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 ounce per drink.
- Desserts: Mix a splash into frostings, ice creams, cakes or fruit salad recipes. The sky’s the blue limit!
- Coloring: Use a few drops to creatively dye milk, yogurt, whipped cream or fondant icing.
- Candies: Make blue rock candy by adding syrup to a sugar mixture while crystallizing.
Start with small amounts until you get the color you desire. Too much can overpower other flavors. For cocktails, the syrup easily mixes into liquids by stirring or shaking. With such vibrant blue color, a little bit goes a long way!
Popular Blue Curacao Cocktails
Blue Curacao cocktails are known for their stunning blue colors. The syrup easily mixes into drinks without thinning the texture. Here are some popular Blue Curacao cocktails:
- 1 oz light rum
- 1 oz Blue Curacao
- 2 oz pineapple juice
- 1 oz coconut cream
- Pineapple wedge garnish
Combine over ice and mix well. Garnish with pineapple.
- 1 oz Blue Curacao
- 1 oz vodka
- 1 oz lemonade
- Lemon slice garnish
Build in a glass over ice and garnish with lemon slice.
- 1 1⁄2 oz silver tequila
- 1 oz Blue Curacao
- 1 oz lime juice
- Lime wedge garnish
Shake ingredients with ice and strain over fresh ice. Garnish with lime.
For a fun variation, rim the glass with colored sugar to complement the blue color.
Brands of Blue Curacao Liqueur
If you want an authentic Blue Curacao made from laraha citrus peels, here are some of the most popular brands to buy:
Bols Blue Curacao
One of the most widely available and affordable brands, Bols uses a recipe dating back to the 19th century using laraha peel and natural flavors. It has an alcohol content of 30% ABV.
Grand Marnier Blue Curacao
From the makers of the premium Grand Marnier orange liqueur, this provides a more sophisticated and natural citrus flavor. It has an alcohol content of 40% ABV.
Marie Brizard Blue Curacao
A French brand that uses a blend of Haitian bitter oranges and sweet Valencian oranges. Known for its well-balanced flavor. Has an alcohol content of 25% ABV.
Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
This premium brand uses a double distillation method and only laraha oranges. It has a drier, more bitter flavor than typical Blue Curaçaos. Has an alcohol content of 40% ABV.
There are also many craft and small batch artisanal versions made by various distillers, often focusing on specific citrus flavor profiles.
How Long Does Blue Curacao Last
Properly stored, here is how long Blue Curacao syrup and liqueur typically last:
- Blue Curacao syrup: About 2-3 weeks after opening when refrigerated. Keep sealed when not in use.
- Blue Curacao liqueur: About 1-2 years when stored in a cool, dark place. Refrigeration after opening extends shelf life to 2-3 years.
Over time, both syrup and liqueur may fade in color or have weakened flavor. If Blue Curacao develops an off taste or appearance, it’s best discarded.
Tips for extending shelf life include:
- Storing in airtight containers away from light and heat.
- Keeping air space to a minimum in opened bottles.
- Never letting Blue Curacao come in contact with moisture which can dilute it.
Proper storage helps retain the vibrant color and flavor.
Is Blue Curacao Toxic?
Blue Curacao syrup and liqueur are generally recognized as safe for consumption in typical amounts. However, there are a few potential health concerns to consider:
- Food dyes: The blue dye (FD&C Blue No. 1) may cause allergic reactions in some people, especially those with sensitivities or underlying conditions.
- Sugar content: Blue Curacao syrup has very high sugar levels, which may need to be limited by diabetics or those on special diets.
- Alcohol content: The alcohol in Blue Curacao liqueur may interact with medications or have effects in excess. Should be consumed responsibly.
Pregnant women may also want to exercise caution and limit intake of both forms of Blue Curacao. Overall it’s nontoxic for most people, but individual allergies or health factors like diabetes should be considered.
In summary, while Blue Curacao syrup is often used interchangeably with Blue Curacao liqueur to color and flavor drinks, there are some notable differences. Blue Curacao syrup is a non-alcoholic, artificial drink mixer while Blue Curacao liqueur is an alcoholic spirit made from laraha citrus peels, imparting natural flavor. Both syrup and liqueur contain blue dye for the vibrant blue-green color.
Blue Curacao is most commonly used in fun, tropical cocktails but can also creatively color a variety of foods and drinks. When shopping, you can choose from many brands of Blue Curacao liqueur or easily make your own syrup at home. With its exotic color, Blue Curacao is sure to turn any drink into an instant party!