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The Blue Hawaii | Will it be Better Upside Down?

Classic Blue Hawaii besides an upside down Blue Hawaii cocktail with a Blue Orange Foam

Aloha, Friends of Cocktails! No matter what your favorite cocktail is, when you find yourself on vacation, standing on a beach, with sand between your toes, nobody is turning down a Tiki cocktail - so it’s not something you’ll hear me say often, but we’re doing Tiki today. We’ll focus on the Blue Hawaii, and we’ll make it two ways. First I’ll make the original from 1957, followed by my inverted version that’s topped with blue foam to turn it into something that could be served at high-end cocktail bars.

The original Blue Hawaii was created in 1957 in Waikiki, Hawaii, by Harry Yee, the head bartender of the Kaiser Hawaiian Village, which later became the Hilton. The inspiration for this drink came when a sales representative from Bols, a Dutch distiller, asked Yee to design a cocktail showcasing the blue color of their Curaçao liqueur. So let’s see what it looked like, it’s Cocktail Time!

Blue Hawaii

● 22.5mL (0.75oz) White Rum

● 22.5mL (0.75oz) Vodka

● 15mL (0.5oz) Blue Curacao

● 90mL (3oz) Pineapple Juice

● 15mL (0.5oz) Lime Juice

● 15mL (0.5oz) Cane Sugar Syrup

It’s as easy as adding these ingredients to your shaker along with some ice, and shaking to chill, aerate and dilute. Then strain the cocktail into a hurricane glass filled with cubed ice, garnished with a pineapple wedge, a cocktail cherry and a tiny umbrella. If you ask me, the tiny cocktail umbrella is a bit more than I usually go for with my minimalistic approach, however with the blue-greenish color and the tropical theme, it doesn't look wrong here. Let’s give it a try, cheers!

The aroma reveals notes of orange and pineapple. Tropical flavors intertwine with rum, while vodka provides a solid backbone to the drink. There’s also a lovely foam from shaking the pineapple that adds to the visual appeal. It's not exactly my style, but it is a well-balanced and undeniably intriguing cocktail. Also as a fun fact, the name “Blue Hawaii” isn’t from the Elvis Presley movie, which came out 4 years after the cocktail was created, but from a song in a 1937 Bing Crosby film called "Waikiki Wedding."

Keep in mind that this drink is not to be confused with the Blue Hawaiian, which uses cream of coconut, and no vodka or simple syrup. That was probably created by Don the Beachcomber, as a riff on the Blue Hawaii, to basically make a Blue Pina Colada. If you've been a long time Friend of Cocktails, you know that I don't often make tropical cocktails, but every now and then, I really enjoy a drink like this, especially with the summer months finally here.

Still, it’s time for us to move on to our signature version of this drink, which we’ll make in two layers. The bottom layer will be a milk-washed cocktail without the blue color, and on top, we'll have the blue foam with orange. Oh and a little saline solution, of course. We’ll get to everything you need to make the milk-washed cocktail, but I’ll first show you how to make the blue foam.

Lineup of bottles including Citadelle Gin, Novofogo Cachaca, pineapple juice and Pineapple Oleo

Blue Orange Foam

● 30mL (1oz) cointreau

● 0,8g methylcellulose

● 0,25g xanthan

● 0,2g orange blossom water

● 0,4g blue spirulina

● 0,3g citric acid

● 10 drops saline

● 120g water

First you’ll need to pour the ingredients into a blender, then blend everything for at least 20-30 seconds to make sure everything is nicely mixed and incorporated. If this method seems weird to you, it’s because I owe an apology and a thank you. In the last inverted cocktail episode, where I made the mint foam for the Inverted Mojito, the process turned out to be time-consuming and impractical. After speaking with some bartenders, I discovered that it's possible to make foam with methylcellulose entirely in a blender, without the need to hydrate the methylcellulose in hot water beforehand.

To quote Alanis Morissette, "you live, you learn”, and I am constantly learning as well. Much of that comes from you, as you share your experience in the comments of our various social media platforms. For that, I thank you! So now that everything is nicely mixed, transfer the mixture into a cream whipper and charge it with a nitrous oxide cartridge. Give it a good shake and place it in the fridge to chill. It’s best to use up the foam within 3 days, and the best way is to place it on top of our milk-washed Blue Hawaii cocktail.

The base spirits for this drink will be different, split between Cachaca and gin. I’ll be using the citrusy Citadelle Jardin d'Été, and to the combination of lime and pineapple juices we’ll also add some pineapple oleo saccharum, which will bring us the desired sweetness and more pineapple flavor. And we’ll need milk for milk-washing. That will not only make the clarification possible but it will also add a wonderful texture to our cocktail, but let’s start with making the pineapple oleo saccharum.

Pineapple Oleo Saccharum

● 200g pineapple peels

● 12g lime peels

● 250g gold cane sugar

To a mason jar add these ingredients, then muddle the sugar and the peels to kick-start the process of the sugar extracting the oils and flavors from the peels, and leave it to sit for 48 hours. You can also use a sous vide bag if you want a quicker process, but once all the sugar is dissolved, your oleo saccharum is done. Now you just need to strain out all the solids before bottling, don’t forget a label and you’re good to go.

This Pineapple Oleo Saccharum can be used as the sweetener to make a tropical twist on almost any classic cocktail, like the Daiquiri, Pisco Sour or even the Old Fashioned, but an alternative to making oleo saccharum is to use Liber&Co’s Pineapple Gum Syrup. You might need to adjust the recipe, but with 60% of their syrup coming from the juice of ripe, cold-pressed pineapples you know you’re getting plenty of tropical flavor in it, but with our oleo saccharum done we’re ready to build and milk-wash the bottom part of our cocktail.

Milk-Washed Blue Hawaii

● 60mL (2oz) Cachaca

● 60mL (2oz) Citadelle Jardin d'Été

● 45mL (1.5oz) Lime Juice

● 90mL (3oz) Pineapple Juice

● 30mL (1oz) Pineapple Oleo Saccharum

● 75mL (2.5oz) Milk

Into a jug add all but the milk, which we’ll warm a bit and then pour into a separate container. Stir everything to combine the ingredients before pouring the mixture into the milk, stir and leave it to sit for 20 minutes. Thanks to the acidity from the lime and pineapple we’re breaking the milk into curds and whey. We’ll then strain the curds with the help of a coffee filter, clarifying the cocktail in the process. The protein in the resulting whey-cocktail blend will give us a rich texture, even without the cocktail being shaken. Once you see clear liquid coming through, transfer the coffee filter and re-filter that first part.

After the cocktail has finished filtering, bottle it, add a label and place in the fridge. As with all milk-washed cocktails it has a considerably prolonged shelf-life, with some sources claiming these cocktails should be good for months, if not years - but there’s little chance this will last for long. Let’s make the Inverted Blue Hawaii.

Inverted Blue Hawaii

● 90mL (3oz) Milk-Washed Blue Hawaii

● 2 drops 20% Saline Solution

● Blue Orange Foam

There’s not a lot of work needed once you get to this point. Add a tempered clear ice block into a tumbler glass and add the milk-washed cocktail on top, alongside the saline solution. Then give it a quick stir, to chill and dilute, before topping it with our Blue Foam. Blue and beautiful like the Hawaiian sea. Quick snap for the ‘gram and we’re ready to take a sip. Kāmau!

It’s citrusy and slightly floral on the aroma. The blue foam enhances the already silky cocktail, which has grassy and citrus notes. The combination of all that with the tropical pineapple makes this a true poetry for your tastebuds, just as much as it was a feast for the eyes. Before I reach the bottom of the glass I have to shout out a new Cocktail Time wall of fame member, Trevor Harbeard.

He recently became our top tier Patron and joins our set with his very own brick. Cheers, Trevor, welcome to Cocktail Time. We really appreciate the support of every single Patron of Cocktail Time. You help us make this show. With that you’ve made it to the bottom of the glass, where I give you a fun fact about today’s cocktail. Did you know that the Blue Hawaii cocktail actually pre-dates Hawaii’s statehood by two years?

If you’d like to see my take on another tropical drink check out the Horchata Piña Colada with scotch, and I’ll see you next week with another elevated cocktail. Cheers, Friends of Cocktails.


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