Cool off by the pool with an icy sweet Blue Hawaiian Punch—rum, blue curacao, pineapple juice, and cream of coconut poured over ice.
Ahhh, is it possible to look at a Blue Hawaiian Punch and feel disheartened? For me, it reminds me of fun in the sun, of holidays spent on a warm island down south. It tastes delicious and looks so inviting. Just a photo of it puts me in a better mood.
Blue Hawaiians were invented by famed mixologist Harry Yee in the 1950s at the Hilton in Waikiki. I’m not sure whether they got an extra shipment in or the sales rep issued a challenge to Yee that he just couldn’t refuse but it’s said the bartender made the Blue Hawaiian in an attempt to sell more Blue Curacao. Well, it worked. The drink’s fame spread across the islands, eventually landing on the continent where it is considered the official drink of the 50th state. The Elvis movie Blue Hawaii came out in 1961 and was presumably named after the drink. You know a cocktail is popular when it influences Elvis and Hollywood!
There are similar recipes on T&T: the Blue Hawaiian Cocktail and the Frozen Blue Hawaiian. Those versions, however, use blended ice, a small but vital detail. If you’re not sure which one to make, why not whip up both, pop in (or stream, I suppose) an Elvis flick, and have your own themed party!
What Is Curacao?
Curaçao is the name of an island in the West Indies. That island, as you probably deduced, is where the liqueur hails from and, indeed, got its name. It’s made from the dried peels of the Laraha citrus fruit that are native to that island. It’s this fruit that gives Blue Curaçao its orange taste (think triple sec but more exotic). It is translucent blue in color, though different companies have managed to produce orange and clear varieties. It regularly features in tropical drinks because of its palatable, sweet flavor and presumably, it’s fun color.
Which Rum Should I Use in a Blue Hawaiian Punch?
Different rums, different characteristics (though you probably already knew that, hence why you’re asking the question). Light/white rum is mild, so it’s a solid choice when mixing with other liqueurs. I suppose you could say it’s the rum you use when you don’t want to taste the rum. Given this is a Caribbean cocktail and it already features coconut flavor, you can up that taste by using Malibu, which is a coconut liqueur mixed with Caribbean rum. It’s not too strong alcohol-wise so you can add it without worrying about the drink’s potency. If the appearance of the drink is negligible, you can use dark, premium, or aged rums. They have a more sophisticated taste, which you may feel hinders the overall drink, though the choice is yours.
- 1 1/2 oz. light rum
- 1 oz. Blue Curaçao
- 2 oz. pineapple juice
- 2 oz. cream of coconut
- Pour the light rum, Blue Curaçao, pineapple juice, and cream of coconut into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
- Shake well until the outside of the shaker has become frosty, usually 20-30 seconds should do the trick.
- Strain the cocktail into a glass filled with ice and garnish with a slice of pineapple or a cocktail cherry, if you like.
Tips & Tricks to Making a Perfect Blue Hawaiian Punch
- Rim the glass with coconut flakes or blue-dyed sugar. It looks cool and tastes even better.
- Use fresh pineapple juice and avoid the pre-packaged stuff which is full of preservatives.
- Chill all your ingredients, including the alcohol. The drink is meant to be a refreshing!
- Use high-quality spirits, that;s valid for all cocktails and this one is no exception!
Blue Hawaiian Punch Variations
Blue Hawaiian Punch Mocktail: Skip the rum and Blue Curacao and replace with orange juice and soda water, if you don’t mind the bubbles. It won’t look like a Blue Hawaiian but the taste will be similar.
Blue Hawaiian Cocktail: Use 1 ounce each of Blue Curacao, light rum, and cream of coconut, and 2 ounces of pineapple juice. Add to a blender along with ice and blend away.
Blue Lagoon: Vodka, Blue Curacao, and lemonade.
Sparkling Blue Hawaii: Rum, vodka, Blue Curacao, and sparkling wine, pineapple juice, and sweet ‘n’ sour mix