…from the Happy Hour Bar
Aloha! How you doin’? It’s Friday afternoon—cocktail time—on the beautiful island of Oahu (Honolulu or Waikiki). If you’re on an island cocktail time starts a lot earlier than the mainland. Okay, to get you in the mood, picture yourself on the sun-warmed sand, with a light tropical breeze and Elvis singing Blue Hawaii in the background.
Nothing says vacation and relaxation like a cocktail concocted with influence from arguably the most paradisiacal place on the planet. Whether you're just trying Hawaiian cocktails for the first time or are a self-proclaimed connoisseur, starting with a Blue Hawaii will ease you into the buzz and the sunny happiness you're longing for. Hawaiian cocktails artfully integrate tropical fruits from the 50th state and are typically a little on the sweet side.
The Blue Hawaii has enjoyed a place in popular culture. Its invention predates Hawaii’s statehood by two years, and it is the most famous drink associated with the Aloha State.
The history of the Blue Hawaii cocktail starts at Honolulu’s Hawaiian Village in 1957 when Boeing 707’s were already flying to the island. That was the year a salesman from Bols asked bartender Harry Yee to design a drink that featured its Blue Curaçao. Blue Curaçao was a staple of the Caribbean where they use dried peel of the Laraha citrus fruit to make this liquor.
Mr. Yee loved the color and started across- the- bar-R&D sessions serving his guests different formulations using Blue Curaçao. He finally settled on a sky blue cocktail featuring rum, vodka, blue curaçao, pineapple and sweet-and-sour. The drink is still recognized today for its signature blue color, pineapple wedge and cocktail umbrella garnish.
The Blue Hawaii is typically shaken with ice and strained into a tall glass, but it can also be prepared by blending all the ingredients together. Being a great bartender, Mr. Yee varied his mixing method per the guest’s taste. Both options taste great, though the frozen version may prove more refreshing on a hot day. Be careful it can easily cause brain freeze.
3/4 ounce vodka
3/4 ounce light rum
1/2 ounce blue curaçao
3 ounces pineapple juice
1 ounce sweet and sour mix*
1 pineapple wedge garnish
1 cocktail umbrella garnish
ChefSecret: My Blue Hawaii recipe calls for sweet-and-sour bar mix. You can choose one of the bottled products available at liquor and grocery stores. But if you’re game to make your own—a very simple task—you’ll create a fresher tasting cocktail. All it takes is sugar, water and lime juice. (Mix 1 part sugar with 1 part water. Add fresh lime juice to taste.)
Quip of the Day: “If you’re not willing to learn, no one can teach you; if you are willing to learn no one can stop you.”
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