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Here are the ingredients you need to make the Blue Hawaii drink! Its ocean-tinted hue is thanks to blue curacao liqueur.

Blue Hawaii Drink
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Here’s a bright blue drink that’s as beautiful as the ocean: the Blue Hawaii! This one is as classic 1950’s as it gets, from the crushed ice to the drink umbrella. Both vodka and rum feature in this sweet tart drink, along with a secret ingredient that brings in its ocean-tinted color. What ingredients do you need for the Blue Hawaiian? You’ll need to grab a few special ingredients, but it’s 100% worth it.

History of the Blue Hawaii drink

The Blue Hawaii, aka Blue Hawaiian, is a tropical cocktail made with rum, vodka, blue curacao, and pineapple juice. It was invented in 1957 by a bartender named Harry Yee in Waikiki, Hawaii. The reason behind the drink? Well, it was all a marketing ploy. A sales rep asked Harry to create a drink with his company’s product, blue curacao, the orange flavored liqueur that gives this drink its color! He named it after the song Blue Hawaii, though people mistakenly think it’s named after the Elvis Presley movie of the same name.

A note on tiki culture and appropriation: unfortunately, Harry Yee and others in the 1950’s created drinks and bars that popularized a faux Hawaiian tiki culture. This craze did little to value the nuance and actual Hawaiian people and culture. Since Tiki culture is built on appropriation, we won’t exalt the virtues of that phenomenon.

Blue Hawaii drink ingredients

What are the Blue Hawaii drink ingredients you need to whip it up at home? This cocktail has a few variations, but it follows a basic theme. Here’s what you’ll need:

Blue curacao

Fresh citrus vs sour mix

The Blue Hawaii drink is often made with sour mix in a bar or restaurant setting. Here’s the thing: purchased sour mix is sickly sweet and artificial tasting. It usually makes for an overly sweet drink. For this spin on the Blue Hawaii drink, we wanted to use fresh squeezed citrus for maximum fresh flavor. Here are the options:

  • Use fresh lemon and lime juice, with simple syrup. It’s easy to do, and results in bright, beautiful fresh flavors.
  • Or, use homemade sour mix! We have a great recipe for a homemade sour mix with fresh lime and lemon juice. (You can also use it to make a whiskey sour or margarita when you’re done!)

Just promise us not to buy the store-bought sour mix for the Blue Hawaiian. Got it?

More about blue curacao

Blue curacao is key to the Blue Hawaii drink: it gives it its beautiful ocean-tinted hue. You absolutely need a bottle, so don’t think you can omit this special ingredient. What is it, exactly?

  • Blue curacao is an artificially-colored orange liqueur invented in the 19th century by Dutch settlers on the island of Curaçao. There are several colors of Curaçao: the most popular today are clear and blue. Blue curacao is 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.
  • Curaçao is actually one of two types of orange liqueurs: Curaçao and Triple Sec. Curaçao is the original orange liqueur and is typically sweeter than a Triple Sec, a dryer style of orange liqueur and what’s typically used in a margarita.
  • 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).
  • What else can you use it for? Mix up a Blue Margarita, Blue Lagoon, Aqua Velva, or the Blue Long Island.
Blue Hawaii drink

Vodka is optional, but makes a more interesting drink

There are lots of variations on the Blue Hawaii: every bar and restaurant makes it differently! While all Blue Hawaii drinks include rum, you’ll find some with both rum and vodka. We used both here to make it a more interesting drink. But you can certainly use all rum if that’s all you have!

White rum is the most common for this drink: it has a crisp, straightforward flavor. You could also use aged rum, aka añejo rum: note that it may give the drink a green-ish tinge. Steer away from dark rum, since the flavor profile is pretty different and it messes with the color of the drink.

The final major component of the Blue Hawaii is pineapple juice! This tasty juice gives it a sweet tart, tropical flair. There are lots of great drinks that use pineapple juice to bring beautiful fruity flavor. Here are a few pineapple drinks to use up your bottle:

Blue Hawaii drink ingredients

When to serve a Blue Hawaii cocktail

The Blue Hawaiian is a stunning tropical blue cocktail! It’s great as a:

  • Summer drink
  • Happy hour drink
  • Dinner party drink
  • Signature cocktail
  • Bridal shower drink or bachelorette party drink
  • Girls night drink
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Blue Hawaii drink

THE Blue Hawaii Drink

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4.3 from 4 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x
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Here are the ingredients you need to make the Blue Hawaii drink! Its ocean-tinted hue is thanks to blue curacao liqueur. 


  • 1 ounce* white rum
  • 1 ounce** vodka
  • ¾ ounce blue curacao
  • 2 ounces pineapple juice
  • ½ ounce lime juice (or use 1 ½ ounces homemade sour mix for the lime, lemon and simple syrup)
  • ½ ounce lemon juice
  • ½ ounce simple syrup
  • Crushed ice, for serving
  • For the garnish: pineapple wedge, cocktail cherry, drink umbrella (optional)


  1. Place the rum, vodka, blue curacao, pineapple juice, lime juice, lemon juice and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Add 2 handfuls of ice and shake until cold.
  2. Strain the drink into a hurricane glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a pineapple wedge and cherry.


*For conversion to tablespoons, 1 ounce = 2 tablespoons

**If you prefer, use 2 ounces rum and omit the vodka. 

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Shaken
  • Cuisine: Cocktails
  • Diet: Vegan

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Jordan Smith says:

    Definitely green. Think it could be blue with lots more blue curaçao than indicated by the recipe but I’m not sure my teeth would thank me for adding any more sugar, so green is just fine. A lovely shade of green it is too!

  2. Abigail Asirifi says:

    great recipe. i need more

  3. Chelsea says:

    Tastes great but mine looks a lot greener than the one pictured.

    1. Brooke says:

      Same here! Much greener. I also needed it to blue.

      Pineapple (yellow) and blue curaçao (blue) =green.

      Great recipe though, tastes great but definitely not the color “blue” pictured.

      1. xod says:

        The one I made was extremely blue so you guys must’ve messed up.