Instantly transport yourself to the beaches of Maui with a Sparkling Blue Hawaii—a delightfully boozy combo of Blue Curacao, vodka, and rum topped with the sweetness of pineapple juice.
I have never been to Hawaii but in my mind, everyone there drinks a Sparkling Blue Hawaii. All the time. Whether sitting by the beach, reading a book, making dinner, or surfing, there in their hand would be one of these gorgeous turquoise-blue cocktails. These are so refreshing and so associated (in my mind, at least) with endless summer nights that it makes sense that they be ubiquitous in a place where it is always warm and never snows.
The Sparkling Blue Hawaii is comparable to the Blue Hawaiian but with a couple of details that make it a totally different drink. First, the former features sweet & sour mix instead of cream of coconut, and it provides the sparkle with either sparkling wine or soda water. You can also think of it like a Pina Colada but with a splash of Blue Curacao. These changes, however slight, make the Sparkling Blue Hawaii a light and refreshing drink with a finely balanced flavor profile that makes it effortlessly drinkable.
What is Curacao?
Curaçao is first and foremost an island in the Caribbean. The liqueur is derived from what you find on that island: Laraha citrus fruit, which gives Blue Curacao an orange taste. It can come as a bit of a shock for those sampling it for the first time, who perhaps because of its color, expect it to have a blueberry-raspberry flavor to it, like something you would expect to find in a 7-11 Slurpee. Though you can find clear and orange-tinged curacao, the most popular variety comes in a translucent blue. That alluring blue, so reminiscent of tropical waters, makes the liqueur a go-to for fun-in-the-sun beverages—complete with cherry and pineapple wedge (and a mini-umbrella, if you’re good!).
- 3/4 oz. light rum
- 3/4 oz. vodka
- 3/4 oz. Blue Curaçao
- 2 oz. pineapple juice
- 1 oz. sweet and sour mix
- splash sparkling wine
- pineapple slice and/or cherry (for garnish)
- ice cubes
- Fill a shaker with ice. Add the vodka, light rum, Blue Curaçao, pineapple juice, and sweet & sour mix.
- Shake well to chill and combine the ingredients. Strain the mixture into a hurricane glass filled with ice.
- Top the drink with a splash of sparkling wine. You can adjust the amount depending on how fizzy you want your cocktail to be.
- Gently stir the cocktail with a bar spoon to integrate the sparkling wine. Garnish with a slice of pineapple, a cherry and a decorative umbrella.
Tips & Tricks to Making a Perfect Sparkling Blue Hawaii
- For a lighter version, replace the sparkling wine with soda water.
- For a more “tropical” taste (i.e., hints of coconut and pineapple), use Malibu rum instead of light rum. Note that Malibu has half the alcohol content of light rum.
- For a more pronounced rum taste, reach for an amber, like Appleton’s or Mount Gay.
- Avoid store-bought pineapple juices, which will be loaded with sugar and added ingredients. Instead, buy fresh pineapple, blend it up, then filter out the larger bits of pulp using a coffee filter or a fine strainer.
- Make your own sweet & sour mix using this recipe. It will brighten up the cocktail and make it taste less synthetic. It will also allow you to get the perfect balance of flavors for your palate.
Sparkling Blue Hawaii Variations
Sparkling Blue Hawaii Mocktail: Skip the rum and vodka. Replace the Blue Curacao with orange syrup (and blue food coloring, if wanting to keep up appearances). Replace the sparkling wine with sparkling water and increase the pineapple juice and sweet & sour mix.
Frozen Blue Hawaii: In a blender, mix the ingredients along with crushed ice until it reaches the desired consistency. You can also skip the sparkling wine as the ‘sparkling’ element of the drink will no longer be a factor.
Tropical Blue Hawaii: Blend up the pineapple with mango, papaya, kiwi, and starfruit then run the finished product through a coffee filter.
Blue Margarita: Combine Blue Curacao with the traditional Margarita recipe.