Cocktail & Other Recipes Other Recipes

Blue Curaçao

Homemade blue curaçao in a swing-top bottle
Image: / Tim Nusog

Curaçao is a Caribbean liqueur made using the dried peel of the Laraha citrus fruit. Blue curaçao is essentially the same thing, but it’s doctored with artificial blue coloring, which adds a bold look to cocktails. Examples: Fun mid-century concoctions like the Blue Hawaii and the Blue Lagoon, two eye-catching drinks that take their names in part from their use of blue curaçao.

If you want to take matters into your own hands, skip the bottled versions available on store shelves and make your own blue curaçao. That’s exactly what the ambitious barkeeps did at Kirkland Tap & Trotter, a now-closed bar formerly located in Somerville, Massachusetts. House-made blue curaçao is rarely seen in cocktail programs. That’s likely because the commercial products get the job done, and the DIY version is a time-consuming process.

This recipe begins with vodka, gin, orange zest and bitter orange peels. That mixture steeps for a whopping 20 days, so don’t just sit around waiting. After this nearly three-week period, you add cloves and let it sit for one more day before mixing in sugar, water and the blue food coloring.

The result is bright, zesty and very blue. The best part: Because you’ve made a large batch, you can deploy your homemade liqueur in all manner of vibrant cocktails.


  • 1 liter vodka

  • 1 liter gin

  • Zest of 12 navel oranges

  • 4 tablespoons dried bitter orange peel

  • 32 cloves

  • 8 cups sugar

  • 6 cups water

  • Blue food coloring


  1. Combine vodka, gin, orange zest and dried bitter orange peel in a large container, and let sit for 20 days.

  2. Add 32 cloves and let sit for one additional day.

  3. Strain the liquid through a coffee filter.

  4. Once strained, add the sugar and water. Stir until dissolved.

  5. Add blue food coloring a few drops at a time until desired color is reached.