By Anthony Dias Blue
Photography by Chris Plavidal
In today’s cocktail renaissance, bartenders are liquid historians, reviving such long-neglected drinks as the kicky Moscow mule, the sexy caipirinha, and the frothy pisco sour. Can the vivid blue Hawaiian be far behind?
This tropical tipple—sometimes called the blue Hawaii (no relation to the Elvis Presley film, though it was filmed at the same resort)—was created at Waikiki’s beachfront Hilton Hawaiian Village resort in 1957 by barman Harry Yee for a representative of the Dutch distiller Bols, in order to showcase the company’s luminescent blue curaçao.
The recipe varies with the trade winds, but silver rum, pineapple juice, and curaçao are classic components. Cream of coconut is always an apropos addition, and a garnish of island flowers adds aloha spirit.
The new white rums, hailing from the Philippines to Panama, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii itself, are clean, bright spirits that give the blue Hawaiian a decidedly contemporary edge.
From the Fairmont Orchid on Hawaii’s Kohala Coast
1 ½ ounces silver rum
1 ounce blue curaçao
1 ½ ounces Coco López cream of coconut
1 ½ ounces fresh pineapple juice
Stir ingredients over ice (or combine with crushed ice in a blender) and pour into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a pineapple wedge, maraschino cherry, and an orchid.
Bols Blue Curaçao ($12)
It’s the original blue curaçao, flavored with an intense variety of bitter orange grown on its namesake Dutch Caribbean island.
Selvarey Rum ($25)
An impressive new brand from Panama with a suave vanilla nose and layered, not overly sweet flavors, sure to kick any rum cocktail up a few notches. Also try the cacao-flavored version.
Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum ($23)
A minerally, fruit-packed entry from rocker (and part-time Aloha State resident) Sammy Hagar, distilled from the first pressing of virgin Maui Gold sugarcane.
Tanduay Silver Asian Rum ($20)
A connoisseurs’ rum that works on its own or in cocktails. Availability is limited, but this Philippines-crafted stunner is pure and focused from start to finish, a worthy addition to a serious bar.
Caliche Puerto Rican Rum ($25)
Created by nightlife impresario Rande Gerber with Puerto Rico’s Serrallés distilling family, lively Caliche is bright with complex flavors, charming rustic notes, and scuba-worthy depth.
Originally appeared in Virtuoso Life magazine, July 2014.
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