Curacao is an orange-flavored liqueur that originated on the Caribbean island of Curacao. It is made from dried peels of Laraha oranges that are native to the island of Curacao and has an alcohol content of 31 percent.
Curacao is not just a brand name but, rather, the generic term for a popular drink. As such, the only true Curacao liqueur is now called Curacao of Curacao.
One monument that dominates the Curacao island map is the Chobolobo Mansion, also called the Country Estate. This is the house owned by the Senior family who is responsible for the first Curacao recipe.
The Country Estate is one of the most popular landmarks on the whole island of Curacao. The island itself has taken a back seat in popularity to the liqueur that bears its name, and, therefore, the mansion is generally the first stop on a tour of the island.
History of Curacao of Curacao
Curacao the drink originated as a mistake in 1499 when the Spaniards first discovered the island of Curacao. Because their plan was to make agricultural land of the island, they began planting it with crops. Among other things, the Spaniards populated the island with their own Valencia oranges.
A problem arose because of the soil and climate of the island. The oranges, when harvested, had an awful, bitter taste, so bad that not even the goats roaming the island would touch them.
The Spaniards gave up on the oranges, along with the goats, and it wasn”t until many decades later that islanders realized that the orange peels of these oranges, left to dry under the sun, produced a pleasantly fragrant oil.
In the late 1800s, the Senior family began to mix this oil with some local spices and the result was the original Curacao. The Senior family then put much time and money into the marketing of this new liqueur, which resulted in a great pay-off.
How Curacao of Curacao is Made
The Valencia oranges placed upon the island of Curacao have become what the locals call “Laraha” oranges. These oranges are the basis for the liqueur, which is made according to the following process:
- Once harvested, Laraha oranges are delicately cut into four slices by a wooden knife and left to dry on a metal plate in the hot island sun.
- The peels are left to dry for five days and cannot be allowed to gather any moisture.
- Once the drying procedure is completed, the dried peels are placed in what are called “jute” bags and put into the still with water and fermented alcohol for four days.
- At the end of the four days, secret ingredients (the local spices) are added to the product in the still.
- Another two days pass before the clear Curacao liqueur is the result.
- Coloring is then added to make it the various colors that now dominate the Curacao market.
Although Curacao was originally a clear drink, it is now made in different colors, most popularly blue, green and orange. No matter the color, they all have the same taste.
Curacao Drink Recipes
Though it can be enjoyed on its own, Curacao is most commonly mixed into Curacao cocktails. While it works well in drinks with a sweeter, fruity flavor, Curacao does work equally well in cutting the harshness of harder liquors. Here are a couple of popular Curacao cocktail recipes.
Blue Beards Favorite
- 1 oz. Blue Curacao of Curacao Liqueur
- 1 oz. vodka
- 1 oz. gin
- 3 drops of lime juice.
Mix into shaker with ice and then strain into a sugar-coated cocktail glass.
- 1 oz. clear Curacao of Curacao Liqueur
- 1/2 oz. dry gin
- 3/4 oz grape juice.
Mix into a shaker with ice and then strain into a Martini glass.