What flavor is Blue Curacao Syrup?

Blue curacao syrup is a brightly colored orange liqueur that is commonly used as an ingredient in cocktails and mixed drinks. With its electric blue color, blue curacao adds a fun pop of color and sweet, citrusy flavor to any beverage. But what exactly gives blue curacao its vivid blue color and what does this colorful liqueur taste like? Here’s a closer look at the origins, flavor profile, and common uses of blue curacao syrup.

What Gives Blue Curacao Its Signature Blue Color?

The eye-catching blue color of blue curacao liqueur comes from the addition of artificial food coloring. Traditional curacao liqueurs, made from the dried peels of the Laraha citrus fruit grown on the island of Curaçao, are naturally colorless or yellow.

To achieve that bright blue color, manufacturers of blue curacao add FD&C Blue No. 1 food coloring when producing the liqueur. This same food coloring is also used to give foods like blue raspberry candy its vibrant blue shade.

Some lower quality “ultra blue” varieties of blue curacao use other artificial coloring agents like FD&C Blue No. 1 and Brilliant Blue FCF to create an even more intense, electric blue color.

So while the shimmering blue color may be artificial, it has become a defining characteristic of blue curacao liqueur and adds to its allure as a cocktail ingredient.

What Does Blue Curacao Taste Like?

In terms of flavor, blue curacao has a predominantly sweet, orange taste with hints of botanical herbs and spices like coriander. The flavor profile includes:

– Sweetness – Blue curacao syrup tastes quite sweet, thanks to added sugar. The sweetness mixes well into cocktails, balancing out acidity and alcohol.

– Orange – The dominant flavor is a natural orange/tangerine taste, reminiscent of the Laraha citrus peels used to make traditional curacao liqueurs. It provides a nice citrus flavor.

– Herbal notes – You may pick up subtle herbal essences like coriander, cardamom, and cloves, added using the dried Laraha peel.

– Mild bitterness – There is a slight bitter undertone that comes from the presence of the dried citrus peels and herbs/spices.

– Alcohol kick – Since it’s a 30-40% ABV liqueur, blue curacao packs an alcoholic punch.

Overall, blue curacao offers a pleasant sweet and orangey taste profile that makes it a mixer-friendly liqueur for cocktails. The artificial coloring provides visual appeal while the natural and added flavors deliver a zesty citrus flavor.

What Are The Origins of Blue Curacao?

To better understand blue curacao liqueur, let’s look back at the origins and history behind this colorful spirit:

Curacao Liqueur Originated on the Island of Curaçao

Traditional curacao liqueur has its roots on the island of Curaçao in the Caribbean. For centuries, the island was known for growing Laraha citrus fruit in its arid climate. The peels of this bitter orange-like citrus were dried and used to make a type of triple sec orange liqueur.

Curacao liqueur dates back to the 16th century when Dutch colonists began cultivatingLaraha citrus orchards on the island, which was ideal for citrus agriculture. The Laraha peels imparted orangey, aromatic, and bitter flavors when infused into alcohol.

By the 19th century, curacao liqueur was being exported from the island around the world, making it famous internationally as a orange liqueur.

Blue Variations Emerged in the 20th Century

Although curacao liqueur from Curaçao was naturally clear, colored variations began emerging in the 1900s. Food manufacturers found that adding colors like blue or red to curacao allowed them to produce more visually appealing and marketable versions.

These brightly colored curacao liqueurs strayed from tradition but became hugely popular. The vibrant blue version quickly became the most famous and preferred, likely because the electric blue color provided the most dramatic visual impact in cocktails.

While curacao liqueur is still made on Curaçao today, production of cheaper artificially colored blue curacao has expanded globally. However, blue curacao’s island origins continue to shape its branding and marketing.

It Became a Popular Cocktail Ingredient in the Late 1900s

By the late 1900s, artificial blue curacao liqueur was widely available and primarily used as a cocktail mixer. Its candy-blue color and sweetcitrus flavor made it fun and easy to incorporate into all sorts of tiki drinks, shots, martinis and other cocktails.

Blue curacao became a staple ingredient at bars and nightclubs and an easy way for home mixologists to add flavor and colorful flair to drinks. Its popularity endures today thanks to its versatility as a cocktail ingredient.

Common Uses of Blue Curacao

What are some of the most popular ways that blue curacao syrup is used? Here are the primary uses of this colorful liqueur:


The most common application of blue curacao is as a mixer and coloring agent in cocktails of all kinds. Its vivid blue shade livens up the appearance of drinks. Common blue curacao cocktails include:

– Blue Hawaiian – blue curacao, light rum, pineapple juice, sweet and sour mix

– blue margarita – blue curacao, tequila, lime juice

– blue martini – blue curacao, vodka, dry vermouth

– blue lemon drop – blue curacao, vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup


As a sweet liqueur, blue curacao is commonly used as an ingredient in party shots like:

– Electric Lemonade – blue curacao, vodka, lemonade

– Blue Kamikaze – blue curacao, vodka, lime juice

– Smurf – blue curacao, milk or cream liqueur

Non-Alcoholic Drinks

Since it has a nice citrus flavor on its own, a dash of blue curacao can be added to lemonades, fruit punches, shakes, and slushies for color.

Food Coloring and Dye

In some cases, blue curacao’s exotic blue coloring is used for dyeing desserts blue, especially cake frosting, ice cream, and candy. This allows cooks to create whimsical blue treats.

However, blue curacao has a very strong dye so only a tiny amount is needed when coloring foods.

Curaçao Liqueur

While not as common today, blue curacao can be consumed on its own as a straight liqueur. Traditional curacao liqueurs are usually sipped as an after-dinner drink.

Popular Blue Curacao Cocktail Recipes

Want to start mixing up festive cocktails using blue curacao? Here are some popular blue drink recipes to try:

Blue Hawaiian

Makes 1 cocktail

– 1 oz white rum
– 1 oz blue curacao
– 2 oz pineapple juice
– 1 oz sweet and sour mix
– Pineapple wedge and maraschino cherry for garnish

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add rum, blue curacao, pineapple juice and sweet and sour. Shake vigorously until well chilled. Strain into a hurricane or margarita glass filled with ice. Garnish with pineapple wedge and maraschino cherry. Enjoy this tropical blue treat!

Blue Lagoon

Makes 1 cocktail

– 1 oz blue curacao
– 1 oz vodka
– 2 oz lemonade
– Lemon slice for garnish

Fill a chilled highball glass with ice. Pour in vodka, blue curacao and lemonade. Stir gently to combine. Garnish with a lemon slice. Simple and refreshing!

Blue Margarita

Makes 1 cocktail

– 1.5 oz tequila
– 1 oz blue curacao
– 1 oz lime juice
– 0.5 oz agave nectar
– Lime wedge for garnish

Rim a margarita glass with salt if desired. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add tequila, blue curacao, lime juice and agave nectar. Shake until chilled. Strain into prepared glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with a lime wedge. ¡Salud!

How Does Blue Curacao Get Its Color?

As discussed earlier, blue curacao gets its color from added artificial food dye rather than any natural source. Here’s some more detail on how blue curacao gets its eye-catching blue color:

FD&C Blue No. 1 Dye

The blue color in regular blue curacao comes from FD&C Blue No. 1, also known as Brilliant Blue FCF. This petroleum-derived dye is popularly used in both the European Union and United States to color food products blue.

FD&C Blue No. 1 is a synthetic blue anthraquinone dye. It is bright blue in color and soluble in water and alcohol, so it integrates smoothly into the clear, ethanol-based curacao liqueur.

Other Artificial Dyes

Some super-bright brands of blue curacao may use other additional dyes like:

– FD&C Blue No. 1 – A blue dye similar to Brilliant Blue FCF

– Brilliant Blue FCF – Another blue synthetic coal tar-derived dye

– Fast Green FCF – A blue-green artificial dye

Using carefully blended combinations of dyes lets manufacturers achieve the most vivid, neon blue colors.

Only Tiny Amounts Needed

Thanks to the strength of the FD&C blue dyes, only a miniscule amount of dye is needed to turn clear, neutral curacao into a dramatic blue color.

Manufacturers may add less than 1% blue dye by volume to achieve that saturated blue shade. This keeps the dye from overpowering the base flavor of the curacao liqueur.

No Natural Dye Sources

Unlike naturally-hued ingredients like blueberry or butterfly pea flower, there are no real natural sources that can produce the brilliant blue shade of blue curacao. Using powerful artificial dyes is the only way to achieve the signature electric blue color that has made blue curacao so recognizable as a cocktail ingredient.

Does Blue Curacao Go Bad?

Like any liqueur, blue curacao does have an expiration date and can go bad after a period of time. Here’s a look at the shelf life and storage tips for blue curacao:

Unopened Shelf Life

An unopened sealed bottle of blue curacao will typically last 1-2 years from the production date. The high alcohol content acts as a preservative, allowing the liqueur to remain shelf stable when properly stored.

Opened Shelf Life

Once opened, blue curacao will start to slowly deteriorate in quality. An opened bottle should remain good for about 1 year.

Storing Blue Curacao

To maximize freshness and shelf life:

– Store sealed bottles away from heat, moisture and light in a cool, dark place like the pantry. Refrigeration is not needed.

– Once opened, reseal the bottle tightly and continue storing away from light. Refrigerate to help extend the shelf life.

– If the liqueur ever appears to have sediment, thickening or changed in color, it may have gone bad and should be discarded.

Freezing Blue Curacao

Like other liqueurs, blue curacao can be frozen for long term storage. Divide it into an ice cube tray and freeze, then transfer cubes to a sealed freezer bag. This lets you preserve freshness while having easy access to smaller amounts for cocktails.

Signs It Has Gone Bad

Signs that opened blue curacao has spoiled and should be tossed include:

– Changes in texture – becomes syrupy, thick or develops chunks

– Changes in aroma – smells flat, rancid, moldy

– Changes in color – fades, separates, browns

– Changes in flavor – tastes unpleasantly bitter, vinegary

Safety Precautions

Never consume any liqueur that shows signs of spoilage, as it can cause stomach upset. When stored properly, blue curacao has a long enough shelf life that spoilage should not be an issue.

Does Blue Curacao Need to Be Refrigerated?

Whether or not blue curacao needs refrigeration depends on if the bottle has been opened or not. Here are refrigeration guidelines:

Unopened Blue Curacao

An unopened, sealed bottle of blue curacao does NOT need to be refrigerated. Refrigeration can actually hasten liqueur degradation by causing flavor volatilization. Store closed bottles in a cool, dark pantry or cabinet away from heat and light.

Opened Blue Curacao

Once opened, it is highly recommended to store blue curacao in the refrigerator. The cool environment will slow down chemical reactions and oxidation, preserving the flavor and color longer.

If left unrefrigerated, an opened bottle may start to lose its bright blue tint faster as the dyes degrade. Refrigeration extends the shelf life after opening up to a year.

Other Storage Tips

To optimize blue curacao’s shelf life:

– Keep tightly sealed when not in use

– Avoid exposing to light, heat, humidity or oxygen

– Store upright to avoid leaking

– Refrigerate partial bottles – cool temperatures prolong freshness

Proper storage both before and after opening will maintain that vibrant blue color and refreshing orange flavor.

What Brand of Blue Curacao is Best?

When picking which brand of blue curacao to buy, you’ll want one with an eye-catching blue color and balanced sweet-citrus flavor. Here are some of the best brands to look for:


DeKuyper is one of the most widely available brands. It has a classic electric blue color and candy-like flavors of orange, coriander, and vanilla. The DeKuyper is a great moderately priced option.

Patrón Citrónge

From the high-end Patrón tequila brand, Patrón Citrónge offers a natural orange flavor with herb and spice accents. It’s one of the highest quality orange liqueurs on the market.

Marie Brizard

This brand is made with the peels of Curacao oranges, vanilla, spices, and other botanicals. It has a natural orange-fruit profile and serious dye job.

Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao

Pierre Ferrand offers a drier, richer style of curacao focused on showcasing the bitter orange flavor. It’s an ideal choice for sipping or complex cocktails.

Bols Blue Curaçao

Bols makes a tropical, fruit-forward blue curacao with candied citrus notes. It mixes beautifully into cocktails. Bols also makes a colorless triple sec.

Grand Marnier Blue Curaçao

From the makers of Grand Marnier, this premium liqueur has cognac undertones with candied orange. It’s pricier but makes a memorable cocktail ingredient.

There are plenty of options on the lower and higher price scale, but these tend to be some of the most recommended quality bottles. With its candy-blue color and sweet citrus taste, DeKuyper is the quintessential budget-friendly choice for mixing and mule drinks.


With its artificial but eye-catching royal blue color and sweet orange flavor, blue curacao has become a versatile and fun addition to cocktails of all kinds. Though colored curacao liqueurs stray from tradition, there’s no denying that vibrant blue hue makes drinks pop both visually and flavorfully.

From its origins on the island of Curacao to its rise to fame as a popular cocktail mixer, blue curacao has enlivened bars and drinks for decades. Its candy-like color comes from added food dyes rather than any natural source. When properly stored and refrigerated after opening, blue curacao liqueur can last for over a year, ready to bring its ultramarine charm to homemade cocktails. Though artificial, blue curacao evokes tropical vibes and adds whimsical flair to drinks.

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