What is a Blue Hawaii?

A Blue Hawaii is usually served garnished with cocktail umbrellas and fresh fruit.

A Blue Hawaii is a cocktail that features, at a minimum, rum and blue Curaçao, with pineapple juice along with a sweet and sour mixture being common additions. The drink can also be made with vodka and other juices, depending on personal taste, and is traditionally served with ice and a slice of pineapple. Blue Hawaii is not to be confused with Blue Hawaiian, a closely related cocktail that includes coconut cream, creating a much richer drink with a very distinct flavor.

Blue Hawaii was invented in Hawaii in the 1950s.

Supposedly, Blue Hawaii was invented in 1957 in a bar in Waikiki, on the island of Honolulu. According to legend, the bartender was invited to propose a cocktail using blue Curaçao, in hopes of increasing sales of the distinctive liqueur. On the surface, Blue Hawaii was a success, as it quickly spread across the islands and then to the mainland, where many people were hungry for Hawaiian-themed drinks, food, and accessories.

As a general rule, Blue Hawaii is considered a warm-weather cocktail. When mixed well, it has a distinct and somewhat refreshing taste, and the blue Curaçao makes the drink somewhat unheard of, especially when it’s served with other tropical fruits or a miniature umbrella. To add to the tropical feel, some bartenders serve their Blue Hawaiis in innovative cups or blend to produce a frozen drink.

Blue Curaçao gives Blue Hawaii a very distinctive and unmistakable color, making it an easy-to-identify drink. Most bars offering tropical cocktails have Blue Hawaii on their drinks menu, or are able to brew it, and it’s a popular choice of alcoholic punch for tropical-themed parties as it’s easy to mix in large batches.

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For variations on the basic theme, Curaçao of other colors can be used, and the basic liqueur can always be changed to suit personal taste. Some people like to use flavored rum in their Blue Hawaii cocktails, although you have to be cautious when doing so as Curaçao has a very distinctive flavor that can match some liqueurs. Amateur bartenders also find that the quality of their Blue Hawaiis is often vastly improved by personally mixing the sweet and sour mixture, using simple syrup and citrus juice, which should be available at any well-stocked bar.

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