The 8 Best Blue Curaçao Substitutes (2024) 

June 26, 2024 by

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Blue curaçao is a bright blue and zesty orange liqueur that refuses to go unnoticed. Star of many blue-tinted tiki cocktails, this Caribbean specialty has become a key ingredient in modern mixology, adding a drop of fun to many drinks. So, what do you do when you don’t have any at home? Use our list of the best blue curaçao substitutes, of course!

Whether you prefer a touch of bitterness or a fruity alcohol-free option, we’ve listed the best blue curaçao replacements below.

The characteristic blue hue is nothing but blue food coloring that you can easily find and use with all these substitutes! 

What is blue curaçao?   

Two Blue Curaçao cocktails in coupe glasses served in a modern lounge setting

Blue curaçao is an orange liquor that takes its name from the small Caribbean Island of Curaçao where it was first made in 1896. There grow the Laraha oranges, which are too bitter to eat but whose peel contains essential oils and aromas that form the base of this spirit. You’ve probably tried it in Blue Hawain or Blue Lagoon cocktails. 

You might be wondering why it’s blue then, as no blue oranges have been found (yet!). Curaçao originally came in a range of colors, including red, green, orange—and you guessed it, blue. The Dutch company Bols were the ones who made It that bright blue hue that everyone now associates with it. But anyone can make a sweet, orange-flavoured blue liquid and call it curaçao as you can’t protect products named after a country or island. 

With its unique orange peel bitter flavor and notes of vanilla, blue curaçao has become a staple ingredient in mixology. So, if you ever find yourself asking, “What can I substitute for blue curaçao?” here are some good options.

8 of the best blue curaçao substitutes   

Before we explore blue curaçao substitutes, you should know these are the best options you can find in terms of taste and flavor. To get the unique blue hue in your drinks you’ll simply have to add a few drops of blue food coloring, and let the magic happen! 

1. Curaçao clear liqueur

A bottle of clear curaçao on a kitchen counter with oranges

If you want to try the blue curaçao au naturel, then try the clear curaçao. This liqueur is made the same way as blue curaçao, but it doesn’t have any coloring agent and is slightly more bitter. This not only makes it the best substitute for its blue counterpart, but also for triple sec in cocktails like Margarita and Sidecar. 

2. Grand Marnier

A bottle of Grand Marnier and Grand Margaritas

Grand Marnier is another blue curaçao substitute. This French liqueur was developed in 1880, combining Cognac and bitter orange liqueur. The intriguing essence of green orange gives this liqueur a unique, bright and burnt flavor, which, when combined with caramelized sugar, vanilla and candied orange peel, is simultaneously sweet and bitter.   

3. Blueberry syrup

Two vibrant cocktails made with a blue curacao blueberry syrup substitute

Looking for a tasty blue curaçao substitute that’s non-alcoholic? Blueberry syrup, of course! It’s sweet and easy to find in most stores, plus it will allow you to experiment without the extra alcoholic kick. Try it out in dainty blueberry cocktails, or in mocktails smoothies and shakes. Although it won’t get your drinks to bright blue, it will give them a darker and more red-toned blueberry colour. 

Read next: The Best Blueberry Cocktails 

4. Blueberry juice

Flutes of blueberry juice and Champagne cocktails served on a silver tray

Like its syrupy friend above, Blueberry juice comes in handy as a substitute for blue curaçao liquor. Its natural sweetness and fruitiness make it the perfect companion to spirits for achieving sweet, decadent cocktails.   

Top tip: Blueberry juice will add an attractive red hue to your drinks. 

5. Pomegranate juice

Two elegant Pomegranate and gin cocktails

We couldn’t not mention pomegranate juice. Due to its sweet and slightly tart flavor, it’s a great alcohol-free blue curaçao syrup substitute. Try it in fruity cocktails like Pomegranate Rosé Palomas and Pomegranate Margaritas for some original flavor combinations and a gorgeous red hue.  

 6. Combier Triple Sec

Combier Triple Sec is the French cousin of blue curaçao. It boasts a fragrant bouquet of orange blossoms, with a rich mouthfeel that perfectly combines the zest of bitter and sweet oranges. Use it as a substitute for blue curaçao in a 1:2 ratio. You can also use it as a substitute for Cointreau in many popular cocktails like the Cosmopolitan and White Lady.  

7. Cointreau

No home mixologist cabinet is complete without Cointreau. Hailing from France, this orange liqueur uses both bitter and sweet oranges, along with a touch of sugar syrup that makes it sweetly scrumptious. Simply use the same amount of Cointreau as the recipe calls for, so no complicated adjustments.  

Tip: Cointreau has a fruitier bouquet than blue curaçao with notes of lemon and grapefruit, so bear that in mind when substituting. 

8. Clement Creole Shrubb

If you’re looking to add extra character to your cocktails, you should definitely try Clement Creole Shrubb. This luscious liqueur starts with a base of unaged Clement Martinique rum, which is blended and aged with orange peels. The final blend is then sweetened with sugar cane. The result is a smooth spirit with a rich mandarin zest and notes of vanilla, white chocolate and honey.  

If you can let go of the blue hue, there are many tasty blue curaçao alternatives to try. Which orange liqueur will you shake up next?   

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Don’t be fooled by the blue hue, blue curaçao belongs to the orange liqueur family. It has a zesty orange flavour with soft vanilla notes to finish. 

Blue curaçao is traditionally made with the bitter peels of Lahara oranges soaked in alcohol. Water sugar and spices are added before the distillation. It’s naturally clear and is usually colored using Blue 1 (E133 brilliant blue) food coloring.  

Yes. Blue curaçao is a type of orange liqueur with an ABV that ranges between 15% and 25%, but some brands can contain up to 40%.  

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