There’s long been a connection between tropical vacations and cocktails sporting beach umbrellas. Certain flavors can transport you mentally into a beach chair with a single sip. People keep vacation vibes going with things at home like straw hats, shells, and cocktails. One drink I’ve seen consistently in photos are Blue Lagoon cocktails. The basic flavor profile is a blue, hard lemonade. Simple to make, neon in color, it’s understandable why some people like them. Personally, I find them too sweet and artificial. However, at this point in the pandemic, I thought it might be fun to recreate the Blue Lagoon into something I would actually drink. So here’s the classic recipe, along with three improved variations.
Classic Blue Lagoon Cocktail
By starting with the Classic recipe, you’ll know what we’re building from. The best part of the this recipe might be the crushed ice. The color is bright, this photo is not edited, and I chose a paper umbrella. The classic recipe calls for a maraschino cherry. The flavor overall is fine, nothing crazy. The drink just tastes like a sweet, blue lemonade.
Classic Blue Lagoon
- 1 oz vodka
- 1 oz blue curaçao
- 4 oz lemonade
- Add ingredients to a shaker with ice.
- Shake 10-20 seconds and strain over crushed ice. Serve with a cherry.
Reinvented Blue Lagoon Cocktails
Now you know the basic recipe. In an effort to cater to a few different tastes not represented by the classic, like “less sweet” or “more tart”, let’s get into some riffs. You’ll notice that I have stuck close to the Classic recipe, while making a few tweaks. If you are looking for a slightly more sophisticated Blue Lagoon cocktail, here are three.
Pineapple Blue Lagoon Cocktail (“Fruitier”)
The main difference in this riff from the original is the juice. For this recipe, we’ll use pineapple juice, which some versions of Blue Lagoon cocktails is already a common substitution. However, pineapple juice can be quite golden and cloudy in color. I think the bright blue hue of the cocktail is the best part. So, for this, we’ll just do a simple coffee-filter clarification. If you have a pour over coffee maker, that’s what I use. It’s really easy, you can just pour your pineapple juice through a paper coffee filter and let it drip into a bowl or a measuring cup. This will reduce the sediment in your juice and help maintain clarity in your final drink.
Pineapple Blue Lagoon
- 2 oz vodka
- 2 oz clarified pineapple juice
- 0.5 oz blue curaçao
- Quick clarify your pineapple juice (either fresh or canned) by filtering it through a coffee filter.
- Add ingredients to a shaker with ice. Shake for 10-20 seconds.
- Strain into a chilled coupe glass and serve up (no ice).
Refined Blue Lagoon Cocktail (“More Tart” and “Less Sweet”)
This recipe is what I think a Blue Lagoon cocktail should be. It’s fresh–swapping out lemonade for fresh squeezed lemon juice–is slightly sweetened with agave syrup, and uses rum instead of vodka. The rum provides more depth to the overall flavor. Vodka (from the classic recipe) is often referred to as being “neutral” in flavor. I really enjoy tasting the spirit used in my drinks. Also, I love any excuse to use these tiki coupe glasses. Plus, ice cubes in coupes is a thing.
Refined Blue Lagoon Cocktail
- 2 oz unaged rum
- 1 oz lemon juice
- 0.5 oz agave
- 0.5 oz blue curaçao
- Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice. Shake for 10-20 seconds.
- Strain into a tiki coupe (or just a regular coupe) glass with one small ice ball.
Blue Lagoon Shooter
Ending on a fun one. Maybe you just need a tiny bit of tropical in your life. Enter the “shooter” blue lagoon! This little drink packs a good punch but it’s small. You can shoot it or sip it. It includes two kinds of rum, along with vodka and blue curaçao. If you look closely at the photo above you might be able to tell it’s on fire. Because, why not?
Blue Lagoon Shooter
- 0.25 oz blue curaçao
- 0.25 oz coconut vodka (I used Bacardi)
- 0.25 oz aged Jamaican rum (like Smith & Cross)
- 0.25 oz overproof rum (like Wray & Nephew)
- 1 half lemon slice (for garnish)
- Add the ingredients in order to a shot glass, starting with the blue curaçao. Pour each one slowly over the back of the spoon to create layers.
- Add the overproof rum last and slowly. If you feel like it, light it on fire!
- Garnish with the lemon and use it to balance your palate as your sipping or each after shooting, like a lime and a tequila shot.
What Ingredients to Use in Your Blue Lagoon Cocktails
The main difference between what you may have had poolside is the ingredients. Using fresh, quality products can elevate the drink. And, that doesn’t mean you have to buy $334 vodka. These recipes use regular vodka (I used a local Kansas City brand, Rieger) and a few kinds of rum: unaged, aged Jamaican, and overproof.
The biggest distinction between a gross blue lagoon and one that is great are the recipes (above) but also the booze. I would HIGHLY suggest not buying anything under $10 for this. And yes, there are $4 bottles of blue curaçao on the market. The problem with the cheaper brands is that they use cheaper artificial orange flavors to flavor them. Add to that, the blue coloring can also add chemical taste to your drink. I used Giffard Blue Curaçao for my recipes. The orange flavor in the liqueur is noticeable but natural. Another reasonably priced, good tasting option is Bols Blue Curaçao.
Fresh Fruit & Juice
Probably my biggest problem with Classic Blue Lagoons, and why I don’t usually order them, is the lemonade. It’s often premixed, or at least not fresh. This is SO easy to fix, just use fresh lemons to make lemonade. You can decide how diluted you like it and add in whatever sweetener you like. I like a 1:2, lemon juice to water ratio with a half ounce of agave.
Cheers! I would love to know what you think of these Blue Lagoon Cocktails! Drop me a comment, I read every one.