The Blue Hawaii is a cocktail that most of us surely know and love. This Tiki cocktail is a globally recognized drink that has been replicated and re-created in thousands of bars all over the world. With a drink this popular, it’s hard to find out its exact origins and for mixologists, it can be hard to make one version stand out from the rest.
We have gathered you here today to give you a few fun facts that you probably didn’t know before about the Blue Hawaii. (Unless, you’re really into that kind of stuff.)
1. It was created by a guy named Harry Yee at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki
The Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki, Oahu is well known because of its size. The resort first opened in 1955 and has since grown to become the largest hotel in the Hilton chain and one of the largest hotels in the world. Outside of the Las Vegas metropolitan area, the Hilton Hawaiian Village is the largest hotel in the United States. This resort is where the Blue Hawaii was created by Harry Yee in 1957. The Hilton Hawaiian Village is right near the water and, every day, Harry would hold out each Blue Hawaii he made to ensure that its color matched that blue-green ocean water.
At Top of Waikiki, we have the most amazing 360-degree view of Waikiki (talk about great work motivation) and we are right down the street from the Hilton Hawaiian Village! We love being able to serve a Blue Hawaii knowing it’s not too far from its home.
2. If it wasn’t the exact color of the ocean, it wasn’t good enough for Harry…and that’s how it got its name!
That’s right, folks, this drink was NOT named after the Elvis movie. Like we mentioned in Fun Fact #1, Harry would hold up each Blue Hawaii he made and compare its color to that of the ocean. If it wasn’t that perfect shade of greenish blue, he wouldn’t send it out. He named it the “Blue Hawaii” in honor of the unique shade of Hawaiian waters.
3. It’s one of the only internationally recognized Hawaiian cocktails, whoa!
There are very few cocktails known around the world that were actually created in Hawaii. Often times, fruity and tropical drinks become associated with Hawaii when they aren’t Hawaiian cocktails. The Mai Tai, for example, is a popular Tiki cocktail that many people consider to be a Hawaiian drink, but this cocktail actually originated in Oakland, California in 1944 and was inspired by Polynesian cuisine. This cocktail was later introduced to Hawaii, but that’s a story for another day…
The good news is that the Blue Hawaii is legitimately a made-in-Hawaii creation. What better place to enjoy a Blue Hawaii than in…Hawaii? When visiting Oahu, you can enjoy this cocktail on the very island in which it was created (which is pretty cool, if you ask us).
4. Despite popular misconceptions, it DOESN’T taste like blue raspberries (trust us, it’s better this way)
Because of the bright blue color of this cocktail, many people expect the Blue Hawaii to taste sweet, like a blue raspberry. Wrong! The Blue Hawaii is actually a tart cocktail. Many people think they’ve received a “bad” drink when they take a sip and find it tart instead of sweet, but that’s the way it’s intended to taste. It has a lot of citrus, and not a whole lot of sugar, but trust us when we tell you it’s delicious the way it is…as long as you know what to expect!
5. Our Blue Hawaii is the best Blue Hawaii, duh
Our Mixologist at Top of Waikiki, Jen Ackrill, had a unique approach when faced with the task of recreating our original cocktail menu from 1965 (which included the famous Tiki drink, the Blue Hawaii). With this cocktail’s immense popularity, and its origin being so close to home (“home” being Top of Waikiki, of course), Jen didn’t want to do it a disservice by changing everything and making a whole new drink with the same name. She had the mindset, “why change something that’s already so good?”
The Blue Hawaii is a fairly simple cocktail but, with slightly different ratios and upgraded ingredients, Jen found a way to make our new menu’s Blue Hawaii unique while still honoring Harry’s original creation. Our version incorporates local spirits, using Pau Vodka and Koloa Rum. We’ve substituted the sweet & sour mix for fresh lemon/lime juice, which gives it a tartness that isn’t overpowering. We also cut the amount of fresh pineapple juice and blue curacao in half and added in a quarter ounce of simple syrup, AKA sugar water. These changes are all very slight but make the world of a difference.
That’s all, folks!
Next time you visit a bar that serves a Blue Hawaii cocktail, you can put your newfound knowledge to the test. That concludes Blue Hawaii 101!