The Aqua Velva drink is a bright blue cocktail that’s sweet tart and bubbly! Here’s an elevated spin on the classic.
A drink inspired by aftershave? Yes, that’s this bubbly bright blue masterpiece: the Aqua Velva! A child of the 1980’s, it’s got a searing neon color that belies its birth. While some versions of this cocktail can be sickly sweet, make it with fresh lemon juice and soda water and it’s a refreshingly complex. The botanical notes in the gin shine though, pairing perfectly with the citrus of the blue curacao. It even tastes a teeny bit like… deliciously drinkable aftershave.
What is the Aqua Velva drink?
The Aqua Velva is a cocktail made with vodka, gin, and blue curacao, inspired by a brand of aftershave of the same name. There’s no documented origin story of the drink, but some sources claim that sailors during World War II consumed the actual aftershave because of its alcohol content. Whatever the case, the Aqua Velva was invented to mimic the bright blue color. It’s remained popular since the 1980’s and was pictured in the 2007 movie Zodiac.
What ingredients are in the Aqua Velva drink? Typically it’s vodka, gin, blue curacao and Sprite, but we found that much too sickly sweet. Here’s how to make an elevated spin on this cocktail:
- Blue curacao
- Simple syrup
- Lemon juice
- Soda water (or substitute sparkling lemonade for the last 3 ingredients)
The best Aqua Velva? Use lemon, not Sprite
When we created this Aqua Velva cocktail, we tried it two ways: with Sprite (aka lemon lime soda) and with fresh squeezed lemon and sparkling water. Here’s what we found:
- Sprite makes a flavor that’s searingly sweet. It covers up the botanical notes in the gin and overall makes it taste like a 1980’s dance club.
- Lemon juice, simple syrup and soda water is the best option! It makes a light and refreshing drink, where tangy notes from the lemon let the botanical notes of the gin shine through.
- Sparkling lemonade also works! You can use store-bought, or make homemade sparkling lemonade (which is essentially the 3 ingredients above).
All about blue curacao
The most important ingredient of the Aqua Velva drink is the blue curacao! This classy liqueur is what makes the beautiful bright color. It’s easy to find at your local liquor store, and you can use it to mix up lots of other tasty blue drinks.
- Blue curacao is an artificially-colored orange liqueur invented by Dutch settlers on the island of Curaçao. There are several colors of Curaçao: the most popular today are clear and blue. Blue curacao has been sold since 1912. It’s flavored with the Laraha orange peel, a type of orange that grows on the island.
- How to pronounce Curaçao? Say it Cure-ah-souw.
- What does blue curacao taste like? It has a sweet orange peel flavor, with subtle bitter finish.
- How much does it cost? Blue curacao is inexpensive; a 750 ml bottle costs about $10. Try to buy a mid-range bottle; we like Drillaud brand (avoid DeKuyper).
How to make an Aqua Velva drink
The Aqua Velva is our ideal lazy drink: you can build it right in the glass! Here’s what to do:
- Stir: Pour all ingredients into a highball glass, adding the soda water last. Add ice and stir.
- Garnish: Add a lemon wedge if desired.
- Pitcher style: If you’re serving a crowd, make a pitcher! We’ve got instructions below on how to stir together a pitcher that makes 8 drinks.
Other blue drinks to try
Love blue drinks? Growing up the 1990’s, these were the cocktails we set our sights on for when we were of age. Here are a few tasty blue curacao drinks to try:
- Mix up a Blue Margarita with tequila
- Try a tropical Blue Hawaii
- Go for a Blue Long Island Iced Tea
- Make seriously a simple Blue Lagoon
When to serve the Aqua Velva drink
The Aqua Velva drink is ideal for sipping in summer or warm weather, but it works anytime. Try it as a:
- Summer cocktail
- Happy hour drink
- Dinner party drink
- Late night drinks drink
- Guys or girls night drink
- Cocktail hour drink
- Pour all ingredients into a glass, adding the soda water last (or sparkling lemonade). Garnish and serve.
- Pitcher variation: Add 1 cup vodka, 1 cup gin, ¾ cup blue curacao to a pitcher. Top off with 4 cups sparkling lemonade (or 1 cup simple syrup, 1 cup fresh lemon juice and 2 cups soda water). Serve over ice.
- Category: Drink
- Method: Stirred
- Cuisine: Cocktails
- Diet: Vegan
Keywords: Aqua velva drink, Aqua velva cocktail