Save money on your next flight

Skyscanner is the world’s leading flight search engine, helping you find the cheapest flights to destinations all over the world.

Craving an island getaway? You can satisfy your tropical drink dreams right at home with the vibrant, fruity Blue Hawaii cocktail. This delightful rum drink packs a punch of flavor that will transport your tastebuds straight to the shores of Waikiki Beach.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Mix light and dark rum with blue curaçao, pineapple juice, sweet and sour mix, and optionally some cream of coconut. Shake with ice and strain into a hurricane glass filled with ice. Garnish with a pineapple wedge and maraschino cherry.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to mix up the perfect batch of Blue Hawaii cocktails. You’ll learn about the drink’s origins and history, the essential ingredients and ratios to use, step-by-step mixing directions, tips for presentation, suggested variations, and even some popular Blue Hawaii recipes from renowned bartenders.

History and Origins of the Blue Hawaii

Creation at the Hilton Hawaiian Village

The popular blue-tinted cocktail known as the Blue Hawaii first emerged in the late 1950s at the iconic Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki. As the story goes, the resort’s legendary bartender Harry Yee experimented with combining rum, pineapple juice, sweet and sour mix, and blue curaçao liqueur over crushed ice to produce the now-famous bright blue concoction.

He named his new signature cocktail the “Blue Hawaii” in homage to Elvis Presley’s hit 1961 film which was coincidentally being filmed at the hotel during that time.

Spread in Popularity During the Mid-20th Century Tiki Craze

During the 1950s and 60s, American pop culture experienced a surge of interest in Polynesian culture and island aesthetics, dubbed the “tiki craze.” Faux Polynesian restaurants and bars exploded in the mainland U.S., all decorated with palm trees, bamboo, and flamboyant cocktails served in kitschy ceramic mugs.

The Blue Hawaii soon emerged as an icon of this movement, promoted alongside favorites like the Mai Tai and Zombie. By the mid-1960s, most bars across America could mix up an island-style Blue Hawaii.

Modern Resurgence in Recent Years

While the tiki trend died down by the 1970s, there has been a noticeable comeback of tiki bars and Polynesian cuisine in the 21st century. Along with this revival, the Blue Hawaii is once again being embraced for its gorgeous blue color and sweet blend of tropical flavors.

Both longtime tiki fans and new generations are rediscovering this retro cocktail 🍹 and enjoying a taste of Hawaiian paradise.

Blue Hawaii Ingredients

Crafting a stellar Blue Hawaii cocktail is all about finding the perfect balance of tropical flavors. From sweet pineapple juice to zesty rum and liqueurs, the right mix of fresh, high-quality ingredients is key.

Light and Dark Rums

Rum serves as the base spirit for the Blue Hawaii, providing a subtle depth that complements the juice, sour mix and liqueur. A 50/50 blend of light and dark rum is commonly used. The dark rum’s slight molasses flavor keeps the cocktail from becoming one-dimensionally sweet while the lightly-aged light rum maintains balance.

Blue Curaçao

Blue Curaçao liqueur serves two essential purposes—it gives the cocktail its iconic baby blue hue while also contributing notes of lightly sweet citrus. This key ingredient provides vibrant flavor and vibrant color in one.

There are a few options when it comes to blue Curaçao, but experienced Blue Hawaii mixologists say that the quality of the liqueur will directly impact the quality of the drink. So spring for the good stuff if you can!

Pineapple Juice

As a universally-beloved tropical fruit, pineapple adds an instantly recognizable, vibrant kick of flavor. When selecting pineapple juice, fresh is best for maximum flavor and sweetness. If going the store-bought route, be sure to give the ingredients a once-over–the purest juices with minimal added sugars or preservatives make the tastiest Blue Hawaiis.

Sweet and Sour Mix

Just like the name implies, sweet and sour mix adds tangy brightness along with some additional sweetness to round everything out. While you can make your own, there are some excellent bottled options available.

According to Food & Wine, look for brands without lots of additives or dyes for the cleanest flavor.

Cream of Coconut (Optional)

A touch of cream of coconut brings even more of that tropical essence in the form of subtle coconutty richness. While the Blue Hawaii is delicious without it, a small splash of this velvety nectar takes the drink’s flavor to the next level.

Coco Lopez is the gold standard thanks to its fresh, authentic coconut flavor—a little goes a long way!


No tropical cocktail would be complete without a fun, colorful garnish. For the Blue Hawaii, nothing beats a classic pineapple wedge or chunk, a brightly-hued brandied cherry, or a festive paper umbrella. You can also rim the glass with coconut flakes or sugar for even more island flair.

Get creative and garnish those Blue Hawaiis with tropical flair!

Essential Mixing Tools and Glassware

Cocktail Shaker

A cocktail shaker is an essential bartending tool used to mix cocktails that contain juice, dairy or egg. Cocktail shakers come in three main varieties – the Boston shaker, the cobbler shaker, and the French shaker.

Most professional bartenders prefer the Boston shaker, which consists of a metal shaking tin and a separate mixing glass. The cobbler shaker is made up of three parts – a metal bottom, a top with a built-in strainer, and a cap.

The French shaker is an all-in-one mixing glass with a metal cap and built-in strainer.

Mixing Glass

A mixing glass is a thick, durable glass used to stir cocktails that only contain liquor, liqueurs, syrups or bitters. The thickness keeps ingredients cold while a long mixing spoon is used to combine everything together. Mixing glasses come in a variety of sizes, but a 16 oz glass is standard.

Many bartenders opt for a Yarai mixing glass which has a spout for easily pouring stirred drinks into serving glasses.


Cocktail strainers are vital for separating ice and other solids from shaken or stirred liquid cocktails before serving. The two most common types are the Hawthorne strainer and the julep strainer. The Hawthorne is composed of a flat, perforated bowl that presses against the shaker’s opening while liquids pass through its holes and slots.

Julep strainers resemble large spoons and are primarily used for straining drinks stirred in a mixing glass. Both types allow for clear, ice-free pours.

Hurricane Glass

A Hurricane glass is the quintessential serving vessel for tropical cocktails like the Blue Hawaii. Shaped like an upside-down cone, these glasses typically hold 20-22 ounces of liquid and have thick bases and flared openings.

Also known as a tiki glass, the shape helps capture the aroma of the drink and keeps it cool while channeling the “island vacation” feel. Polished glass Hurricanes are the classic choice, but etched, colored and even fake bamboo versions offer fun twists.

Cocktail Stirrer

Cocktail stirrers provide an alternative to muddling or shaking when blending liquor cocktails. Typically made of stainless steel or wood, they have long handles attached to flat paddle tops designed to thoroughly mix ingredients together without bruising the liquids.

Many stirrers have fanciful shapes embossed into the paddle ends, from stars and diamonds to anchors and fleur-de-lis. They bring functional flair to the drink mixing process.

Step-by-Step Blue Hawaii Recipe

Combine liquids and shake with ice

Making the perfect Blue Hawaii cocktail begins with gathering high-quality ingredients and the proper tools. You’ll need light or silver rum, blue curaçao liqueur, pineapple juice, sweet and sour mix, a cocktail shaker, a strainer, and plenty of ice. Using fresh, cold pineapple juice is key for maximizing the fruity tropical flavors.

According to mixology experts, the proper Blue Hawaii recipe combines:

  • 2 oz white rum
  • 1 oz blue curaçao
  • 1 oz pineapple juice
  • 1 oz sweet and sour mix

Add all the liquids to your cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously for at least 10-15 seconds to thoroughly chill and combine the ingredients. The perfect Blue Hawaii has an icy cold temperature contrasted by the warm island flavors.

Double strain into hurricane glass

After shaking, use a Hawthorne strainer topped with a fine mesh strainer to double strain the Blue Hawaii mixture into a hurricane glass filled with fresh ice. This double straining makes for an exceptionally smooth cocktail by filtering out any ice shards or pulp.

Hurricane glasses have a unique shape designed to prevent drinks from splashing out when served on the beach in windy tropical locales. The curved shape also perfectly shows off the beautiful azure gradient color of a properly-made Blue Hawaii.

Garnish festively with fruit

No festive tropical cocktail is complete without a bright, cheerful fruit garnish. The Blue Hawaii is classically embellished with a colorful paper umbrella along with a pineapple wedge or slice and a maraschino cherry.

For special occasions, you can skewer the fruit together with a decorative swizzle stick. And for parties, serve Blue Hawaiis in fun tiki-style cups with splashy patterns. Vibrant decorations make the Blue Hawaii even more memories-of-paradise-inducing.

Now grab your grass skirt and lei, crank up thesteel guitar music, and get ready to enjoy your expertly-crafted slice of island vacation in a glass!

Blue Hawaii Variations

Substitute Spiced Rum for Extra Kick

Want an extra punch of flavor in your Blue Hawaii? Consider substituting the light rum with a spiced rum like Captain Morgan or Sailor Jerry. The spices and vanilla notes pair deliciously with the tropical fruit juices and give the cocktail an extra depth of flavor.

Just be careful not to overdo it on the rum or you may end up with a drink that’s more booze-forward than you intended.

Add Coconut Cream for Richer Texture

For a richer, creamier Blue Hawaii experience, try adding some coconut cream to your cocktail. You just need about 1-2 tbsp and it will lend a silky texture and a more pronounced coconut flavor. Coco Lopez cream of coconut is a popular choice, but you can also use Chaokoh or Thai Kitchen coconut cream (the thick stuff sold in cans, not the beverage creamer).

Shake it up really well with the other ingredients so it fully integrates. So dreamy! 😍

Use Midori Instead of Blue Curaçao

Don’t have blue curaçao on hand? No worries! You can substitute melon liqueur like Midori instead. While it won’t give that vibrant aqua color that curaçao provides, it makes up for it with its sweet honeydew flavor.

You’ll get a lighter greenish-blue color in the end result, but it will still taste tropical and delicious. Midori was actually created in the 1970s to mimic the flavor of Hawaiian fruits, so it feels right at home in a Blue Hawaii.

Make It a Mocktail without the Rum

Want to enjoy this fruity tropical drink without the alcohol? It’s super easy to whip up a delicious Blue Hawaii mocktail. Simply mix together equal parts pineapple juice, lemon juice and blue curaçao (or substitute Midori as above), then top with a splash of cream of coconut.

Shake everything with ice and pour into your favorite cocktail glass. Garnish with a pineapple wedge or maraschino cherry. Now you can get your faux tropical vacation vibes without worrying about overindulging!

Expert Blue Hawaii Recipes

Traditional Hawaiian Village Version

The original Blue Hawaii cocktail was created at the Hawaiian Village Hotel in Waikiki in 1957. The traditional version combines light and dark rums, pineapple juice, sweet and sour mix, and Blue Curaçao liqueur for a tropical, fruity flavor.

According to historical records from the hotel, the exact ratios are 1 ounce light rum, 1 ounce dark rum, 1 ounce Blue Curaçao, 4 ounces unsweetened pineapple juice, and 1 ounce sweet and sour mix. The ingredients are combined over ice and garnished with a pineapple slice and maraschino cherry for a beautifully blue, Hawaiian-inspired drink.

Erick Castro’s Blueprint from Polite Provisions

World-renowned bartender Erick Castro put his own twist on the classic Blue Hawaii recipe for his bar, San Diego’s Polite Provisions. His streamlined version calls for 1 ounce pineapple-infused añejo rum, 3⁄4 ounce Blue Curaçao, 1⁄2 ounce Velvet Falernum, and 1 ounce each fresh lime juice and pineapple juice.

Castro shakes these ingredients with ice and strains into a collins glass filled with crushed ice and pineapple fronds. The herbal notes from the Velvet Falernum and fresh pineapple flavors give Castro’s Blue Hawaii an elevated taste profile beyond the usual sweet cocktail.

Jet Tila’s Tropical Twist

Celebrity chef Jet Tila takes the Blue Hawaii into exciting new territory with an adaptation he calls the Blue Thai. Drawing inspiration from classic Thai ingredients, Tila’s recipe mixes 1 1⁄2 ounces Thai rum, 1 ounce pineapple juice, 3⁄4 ounce Velvet Falernum, 1⁄2 ounce Blue Curaçao, and several splashes of freshly squeezed lime.

He also incorporates basil leaves and galangal root, which lend aromatic herbal notes and subtle spice. Tila shakes his tropical ingredients with ice and fine strains into a tall glass filled with crushed ice. His unique Thai riff on the Blue Hawaii makes for an exciting new warm-weather sipper.

Tips for Serving Blue Hawaii Cocktails

Chill Your Glassware

Before mixing up a batch of Blue Hawaii cocktails, be sure to chill your glassware ahead of time. Allow wine glasses, hurricane glasses, or cocktail glasses to sit in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.

Frosted glasses not only keep drinks colder longer, but also prevent condensation from watering them down.

Use Plenty of Ice

Fill glasses to the brim with fresh ice cubes before pouring in the cocktails. This helps maintain chilling and dilution. For a Hawaiian luau theme, use crushed ice or fill glasses with shaved ice. Shaved ice has more surface area for cooling drinks rapidly.

According to drink experts, the ice to cocktail ratio should be at least 1:1.

Garnish Artfully with Fruit

No Blue Hawaii cocktail is complete without a festive fruit garnish. Slices of pineapple, maraschino cherries, orange wheels, or lime wedges add a pop of color and flavor. For an edible umbrella, skewer bite-size fruits onto colorful cocktail picks.

Get creative with tropical fruits like starfruit, mango, kiwi, or even watermelon wedges.

Serve in Pineapple or Coconut Shells for Fun Presentation

Hollowed out pineapple halves or coconut shells make delightful vessels for serving Blue Hawaii cocktails, especially for summer parties. Pineapples should be sliced in half lengthwise, then cored leaving about 1 inch of fruit inside.

Coconuts can be cracked open, drained, and lined with plastic wrap before filling. Imagine guests’ delight when drinks arrive brimming with tiny paper umbrellas!


With this complete guide to mixing, serving, and enjoying Blue Hawaii cocktails, you have all the tips, tools, and recipes needed to start pouring perfect tropical drinks. So gather your ingredients, chill your glasses, and get ready to transport your tastebuds to paradise right from your own home bar.


The next time the summer heat has you yearning for a Hawaiian getaway, don’t reach for a plane ticket – just mix up one of these fruity, floral rum drinks instead. With the right ratios of rum, juices, sweeteners, and garnishes, you’ll be saying ‘aloha’ as your tastebuds take a trip to the islands with every delicious sip.

So break out the cocktail shaker and get ready to beat the heat with a little Hawaiian flair. Mahalo and enjoy!

Sharing is caring!

Similar Posts