What is it about blue curaçao that I’m drawn to? I don’t find it particularly tasty. In fact, I often snub my nose at it. It has a reputation as a cheap beach resort tourist cocktail. Is that fair, though?
As I explained in my twist on the Blue Lagoon last summer, I have fond childhood memories of the liqueur from my summer vacations in Greece.
No, I wasn’t drinking booze at the age of 8. At least not that I can remember. But my older brothers and cousins would and blue curaçao was in almost every one of their drinks. As a child, I was fascinated by the awesome colour and frustrated that I wasn’t allowed to have some myself. “It must taste like blue magic!”, I thought. Ever since then, I’ve tried so hard to create a cocktail that would do my childhood expectations justice.
Unfortunately, it’s been difficult to find a good use for the blue liqueur. I’ve always wanted to incorporate it into a visually appealing drink (after all, we taste with our eyes first), but never had much success. People told me to give up: “It’s a beach resort novelty. Nothing more.”
Then one day, I discovered that Giffard’s has their own version of blue curaçao. Knowing that the company produces quality liqueurs (my unhealthy fondness for their crème de violette can attest to that), I immediately picked up a bottle. The experiment had begun.
At our last cocktail photoshoot, I played with some ingredients and borrowed Bruno’s falernum (Caribbean syrup containing flavours of almond, ginger, lime, and vanilla) and came up with something I was proud to serve. The ingredients combine to create the ideal beach cocktail. And one that actually tastes good.
In an ice-filled shaker, add all ingredients and shake vigorously. Strain out ice and dry shake vigorously. Double-strain into a chilled coupe and serve.
What you end up with is a cocktail that will take you back to your summer vacation on a warm sandy beach. And the blue hue is not just a gimmick – it adds a nice element to the entire package. The falernum adds tropical flavours to give the drink some complexity. The lime juice cuts the sweetness just enough and adds to the tropical vibe and the mint gives it a nice herbal pop.
When I was a kid, I always imagined that this ‘magical’ blue liqueur would taste good. But when I eventually tried it for the first time, it shattered part of my childhood. I hated it.
But thanks to my ever-growing cocktail experience and the availability of quality ingredients, I finally found a drink that matches my childhood expectations.
If you try hard enough, sometimes you can recreate your childhood nostalgia. One magical blue drink at a time.