Which came first – Curaçao island or Curaçao liqueur? Trick question of course, but then again, Curaçao is a mysterious liqueur.
When it comes down to it the real deal is to be able to drink a Curaçao cocktail while relaxing on the magnificent Caribbean island of Curaçao.
Yes, that is the life.
Ok, back to business, let’s clear up some of the general confusion surrounding the enigmatic liqueur.
Fact – Curaçao came from a failed attempt of the Spanish to cultivate Valencia oranges on the island.
Fact – Curaçao is naturally colorless.
Fact – Most people associate Curaçao with the color blue.
Fact – Curaçao is made from the oil of dried orange peels, and is then mixed with secret ingredients such as certain local herbs. The oranges are peeled with wooden knives, and then the peels are left to dry.
It all started in the beginning of the 16th century, shortly after the Spanish discovered a little slice of paradise just 40 miles north of the Venezuelan coast.
Eventually those industrious Spaniards decided to develop Curaçao agriculturally, and being from Spain, they began to plant Valencia oranges.
Valencia’s may grow abundantly in Spain, but they sure didn’t thrive under the sizzling sun and arid climate of Curaçao.
After no success was found, the Spanish abandoned the project, and the Valencias were left alone to grow wild and free. Apparently not even the infamous Curaçaoan goats would touch the things.
Quite some time later, it was discovered that the peels of the orange, once dried by the sun, contain etheric oils that make them fragrant.
No longer the Valencia Orange, as it had a bit of time to evolve and transform, this new orange was dubbed the “Citrus Aurantium Currassuviensis.”
Since that’s a mouth full, the locals named it “Laraha.”
So, Why is it Blue?
Great question. Humans love to make things colorful, and once dye was invented, Curaçao got dyed blue somewhere down the line, and it just stuck!
In fact, Curaçao sans coloring doesn’t have too much color to it, but the coloring doesn’t affect the taste, so typically distillers give it a little color!
Blue, green, red, orange, and clear are the typical colors Curaçao is found to have. The sweet taste and pretty colors are usually why the liqueur is used in fruity tropical cocktails.
Where to Try
Of course, Curaçao can be purchased at grocery stores, or you can taste it in cocktails at any given bar or restaurant (usually), but the best place of all to taste is, of course, Curaçao island!
We recommend heading to Curacao Liqueur Factory, which is run by the family Senior & Co., and produces the ancient liqueur in the famous Landhuis Chobolobo – essentially an old plantation surrounded by the natural beauty of the island. The factory offers free tours at Landhuis which includes a complimentary tasting of the fine liqueur!
Naturally you don’t have to travel all the way to Curaçao to taste Curaçao liqueur, but we highly recommend doing so as a gift to yourself! For the utmost in luxury and convenience, book your stay at the beautiful Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort. The friendly team at Santa Barbara can help you arrange your tour at the Factory, along with provide recommendations for anything and everything else you desire to see or do throughout your stay!
Bon Voyage and Cheers!