Celebrate summer with a Blue Hawaiian

Brian Rung

    It's mid-August and the back to school sales are in full swing. Most of us have almost paid off the summer vacation credit card balance, and our fantasy football teams are beginning to take shape.
    Yes, we are running out of summer. Let's get one more summer cocktail in while the water in your swimming pool is as warm as it's going to be all year long.
    Grab whatever light rum is left in your cabinet and call your friends. We are going to end this summer with the quintessential summer cocktail, The Blue Hawaiian.
    The Blue Hawaiian is often confused with the Blue Hawaii, and while both are blue and tropical, they are completely different cocktails.
    The main difference is that The Blue Hawaiian uses coconut, while the Blue Hawaii uses only pineapple, vodka and sour mix in addition to the rum.
    The Blue Hawaiian may be served blended or shaken. I prefer shaken as blending tends to over-dilute the drink.  
    The Blue Hawaiian is perhaps the easiest drinking of all tiki drinks as it only calls for one ounce of light rum in addition to the super-sweet pineapple, curacao and cream of coconut. Think of the Blue Hawaiian as a blue Pina Colada with a twist of citrus.
    The twist of citrus in the Blue Hawaiian comes from one of my all-time favorite cocktail ingredients, blue curacao.
    Wait a minute, how can blue curacao add citrus flavor? Curacao is a catch-all term for orange liqueur, and even the blue stuff tastes like sweet orange.
    The only difference between orange curacao and blue curacao is the color.  The blue variety is dyed a deep blue to add flair to a variety of cocktails.
    As a rule of thumb in mixology, any drink with the “blue” in the name uses blue curacao. The most widely used blue curacao the world over is Bol's, also known as Bol's Blue.
    Bol's Blue can be added to your Margarita, Electric Lemondae or your Cosmopolitan if you fancy a colorfully unique presentation. In the bottle Bol's is dark blue, but often times it will turn cocktails any number of shades from aqua green to light blue, all the while adding a smooth citrus flavor note.
    If you haven't picked up a can of Coco Lopez Cream of Coconut this summer, it's time to get your hands on some. Coco Lopez is the industry standard coconut cream and can be found behind almost every commercial bar in the world.
    Use genuine Coco Lopez. Avoid the squeeze bottle coconut cream. Be sure to stir your cream of coconut before adding it to your cocktail as the pulp tends to separate somewhere around room temperature.
    Unfamiliar with cream of coconut? The Blue Hawaiian is a fantastic first coconut cream cocktail for those new to coconut cream. The key is to remember that due to the thickness of the cream you will need to give this, and any cocktail that calls for coconut cream, a few extra vigorous shakes.
    This is not an issue with blended cocktails, but a firm shake is required for a smooth consistency when using coconut cream in a shaker.
    Leftover cream of coconut will keep for a few days in the refrigerator, plenty of time for you to try other cream of coconut cocktails such as The Painkiller.  
    The Blue Hawaiian is served as a blended cocktail most of the time, and if you prefer to blend yours simply follow the recipe below.
    Instead of building it in a shaker, add ingredients to a blender and blend it until smooth.
    The best pineapple juice for mixology applications is Dole 100 percent juice in the six ounce cans. Buying the smaller cans means that you won't be throwing away a large bottle of juice with only  one to two ounces used.
    Those small cans will be fresh when you need them. Be sure to shake your pineapple juice as it does separate from the pulp.
    The Blue Hawaiian is delicious because it contains three of the sweetest ingredients in all of mixology: curacao, pineapple and cream of coconut.
    The rum isn't quite an afterthought in the Blue Hawaiian, but it's close. It is difficult to taste the rum in this drink, so don't use your best rum unless you are going to add more rum to the drink. Any of your common, mass produced light rums will work: Bacardi, Cruzan, El Dorado, Mount Gay, Flor de Cana, etc.
    If you follow the recipe below, the end result will be what I like to call “electric blue” - almost an aqua blue from the combination of the dark blue curacao mixed with the yellow tinted pineapple juice.
    This one is sweet, but then again so is summer. What are you going to do with the rest of your summer?
    The Blue Hawaiian is built in a shaker and served in a highball glass.
    Fill shaker with ice.
    2 oz pineapple juice
    1 oz blue curacao
    1 oz light rum
    1 oz cream of coconut
    Shake vigorously for 20 seconds.
    Strain into highball glass over fresh ice.
    Garnish with cherry and pineapple wedge.
    Until next week, enjoy responsibly.