Blue Hawaii Recipe

Make for Maui from your own kitchen with this Blue Hawaii—rum, vodka, and blue curacao mix it up for a cocktail that boasts a fun look and delicious taste.

Blue Hawaii Drink Recipe featured image above

You know you’ve created a memorable cocktail when even Elvis gets on board.

That’s what happened after Harry Yee—famed bartender at Honolulu’s Kaiser Hawaiian Village (now Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Resort)—concocted the Blue Hawaii in 1957. A few years later, the King would star in a movie named after the drink, whose fame was catapulted, thanks to Hollywood. Did Harry want to make a cocktail with a fun color and vibrant taste that captured the exuberance of his home island? Did he make the drink to appeal to rock ‘n’ roll icons? Or was he convinced to do so because a Bols salesperson wanted to shift more bottles of the company’s blue curacao? I guess we’ll never know.

What we do know is that the Blue Hawaii is a cool beverage that will transport you to a Maui beach faster than you can say “Aloha.” It’s a mix of rum, vodka, blue curacao, pineapple juice, and sweet ‘n’ sour mix, so it packs a punch under all that yumminess. It’s my go-to whenever I’m on vacation in a tropical land. It’s also my go-to upon my return. It comforts me as I sit at my window and stare longingly at my backyard and wish it were a beach.

What is Curacao?

If you’ve travelled to the Caribbean often (or if you possess a globe), you’ll know that curaçao is the name of an island in the West Indies. It’s home to lovely beaches AND the Laraha citrus fruit. It’s the dried peels of this fruit that contribute curacao’s taste. What’s that taste, you ask? Well, because it’s citrus, it tastes like orange. Yes, it’s totally confusing—your eyes are telling your taste buds to expect blueberry but your tongue gets something completely different, like think triple sec but more exotic. To “rectify” this problem, many distilleries now make orange and clear varieties so that a rift doesn’t form between your eyes and taste buds. Of course, this change will remove its translucent blue tint which, along with its palatable, sweet flavor, it part of the reason it’s so popular in tropical cocktails.

What is the Best Rum to Use?

There are many different rums you can use and, as you will presumably be the one drinking the Blue Hawaii, the “best” rum is the one you enjoy drinking the most. That said, if you’re new to the Blue Hawaii, I recommend using a light rum. In general, the lighter the rum, the less imposing the flavor. The rum will step aside and let the other ingredients—the curacao and juice, for instance—entertain your palate. If you are looking for something with a bit more personality, you could try an amber rum (e.g., Appleton’s or Mount Gay). They both have a more distinct flavor than the light variety but aren’t as bold as a darker rum. And while this is more a liqueur than a rum, you can up the coconut taste by using Malibu Coconut Rum. It’s sweet and not particularly boozy so I would add it to the mix instead of replacing the light rum listed in the recipe.


  • 3/4 oz. light rum
  • 3/4 oz. vodka
  • 3/4 oz. blue curaçao
  • 2 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1 oz. sweet and sour mix
  • pineapple slice and/or cherry (for garnish)
  • crushed ice


  • Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice cubes.
  • Pour in the light rum, blue curacao, pineapple juice, and sweet and sour mix.
  • Secure the lid on your cocktail shaker, then give it a good shake for 15-20 seconds.
  • Strain your drink into a hurricane glass filled with crushed ice. Don’t forget to garnish with a cherry and a slice of pineapple for that perfect tropical touch!


Calories: 259kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 0.2g | Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.02g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 18mg | Potassium: 92mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 3IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 1mg

Tips & Tricks to Making a Perfect Blue Hawaii

  • Use fresh pineapple juice. It is healthier and tastes better than the prepackaged stuff you’ll find on store shelves.
  • Don’t cut corners when shaking. If anything, you should shake longer than the 20 seconds prescribed here. You want those ingredients fused and a nice frosh featured atop your drink.
  • Experiment with different flavors of vodka, if you feel so inclined.
  • Drinking a Blue Hawaii is an experience; dress it up with a mini-umbrella if you’re serving these at a luau-themed party.
  • If you don’t have blue curacao, you can sub in triple sec. Use blue food coloring so that the drink maintains its fun look.
Blue Hawaii Drink Recipe featured image below


Blue Hawaii Drink Recipe featured image below

Blue Hawaii Variations

Blue Hawaii Mocktail: Drop the vodka and rum and use a non-alcoholic blue curacao substitute. You can also add a splash of orange juice.

Blue Hawaiian Punch: Light rum, blue curacao, pineapple juice, and cream of coconut served over ice.

Blue Lagoon: Vodka, Blue Curacao, and lemonade.

Sparkling Blue Hawaii: Rum, vodka, Blue Curacao, and sparkling wine, pineapple juice, and sweet ‘n’ sour mix

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