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What is Curaçao Liqueur?

Whole cloves are used in homemade Curaçao liqueur.
Coriander seeds can be used to flavor Curaçao liqueur.
Curaçao Liqueur can be made at home using vodka.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 November 2014
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Curaçao liqueur is a liqueur which is traditionally produced on the island of Curaçao in the Caribbean. In addition to being produced on Curaçao, this liqueur is also made in some other regions of the world, and you can even make it at home, should you so desire. This liqueur is used in a variety of mixed drinks, perhaps most notably the Blue Hawaiian, and it tends to be included in drinks with a tropical or exotic theme.

The history of Curaçao liqueur is quite interesting. When the Spanish colonized the Caribbean, they brought along a number of European plants to cultivate, including Spain's famous Valencia oranges. However, the oranges did not grow as expected in the Caribbean, turning sharply bitter. Farmers abandoned the oranges, allowing them to run wild, but in the 19th century, adventurous cooks realized that the peels had an intensely flavorful aromatic oil which could perhaps be used in cooking.

The Senior family decided to make a liqueur with the peels of the Valencia oranges, known as larahas on Curaçao to differentiate them from their Spanish relatives, and Curaçao liqueur was born. The popularity of the liqueur led other producers to follow suit, marketing their own versions, not all of which are made with lahara peels. Connoisseurs believe that the best liqueurs comes from distillers on Curaçao, using lahara peels to made the traditional version of this beverage.

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This liqueur is made by steeping the dried laraha peels in a still, along with other spices and some sugar. After a set steeping period, the liqueur is allowed to settle to remove sediment, and then bottled. Curaçao liqueur is clear when it is first produced, but many producers add colorings. Blue Curaçao is a famous variant on the traditional drink, and it may also be colored orange, green, red, or yellow. The liqueur has a pronounced orange flavor and a hint of bitterness which is tempered by the sugar.

To make Curaçao liqueur at home, dried lahara peels can be steeped in vodka along with whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, coriander seeds, and sugar. The liqueur should be allowed to steep in a cool, dry place for around five weeks before been strained and then allowed to sit so that the sediment will settle to the bottom. After the settling, the liqueur can be carefully poured into a fresh bottle and then used as desired.

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yumdelish
Post 3

I bought some Bols blue curacao liquer as it was on special at my local store. It makes a really refreshing and long cocktail, but most of all I love the calorie count.

An average serving only packs about 72 calories, so if you mix it with something sugar free, such as lemon and lime drinks, it is much lighter than beer, and lasts longer than wine. I also like triple sec liqueur but that's got a bit more sugar in it.

Windchime
Post 2

@Valencia - Congratulations on your planned engagement. The party sounds like fun, and the cocktails sound delicious.

I'm a fan of triple sec, orange curacao liqueur. Somehow my eyes can't fathom blue liquer as something to drink! The orange version is usually clear in color, and is useful for making cocktails which have a lower alcohol content than other orange flavored competitors.

Valencia
Post 1

My boyfriend and I are planning a blue themed engagement party next month, and blue curasao will be the basis of most cocktails served.

We've been doing some experimenting with recipes and this seems to go well with various other alcoholic drinks, such as Drambuie or schnapps. The piece de resistance, a champagne liqueur called 'Blue Angel', will be served at midnight.

I can't wait for what is going to be a special and quite unusual party!

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