Curacao’s Namesake Liqueur Has a Long History

Blue Curacao cocktail

Curacao is a famous alcoholic beverage that boasts of a rich and interesting history. The drink originates right here on the island of Curacao, and has the charms of both the Old World and New World.

Curacao Island, the source of the name and place of origin of the beverage, was discovered for Europe in 1499 by Spanish colonizers. Upon occupation, they planned for agricultural development of the island. The colonizers brought with them several plants to cultivate and the Valencia oranges were part of the voyage. However, the arid climatic conditions and the sizzling sun did not allow the oranges to grow as expected in the Caribbean island. Instead, the juicy fruit turned to be a bitter and inedible product prompting them to abandon them. Eventually, the oranges turned to be wild.

In the 19th century, some adventurous individuals discovered that the peels of the orange contained significant aromatic oils and a flavorful fragrance once they were completely dried by the sun. One of the island’s oldest families decided to make liqueur using the peels of the Valencia oranges known as larahas to differentiate them from the Spanish relatives. This actually gave birth to the Curacao liqueur.

The drink gained massive popularity and this compelled other different producers to delve into its production while marketing their own versions. However, not all of the new versions were made from the peels of the laraha. Alcohol volume ranges from 15-40% thus giving a wide choice. Despite the widespread production, it is suggested that the best curacao liqueurs come from distillers in Curacao, as this is the authentic home to the beverage, where it is made with precision as the production process and technique is well mastered.

Curacao is made by simply still steeping dried laraha peels with spices and some sugar. A steeping period is given after which it is allowed to settle so as to remove any sediment. Curacao is a clear color when it’s first produced. Producers then add different colors, bringing about the different varieties available; red, orange, green, blue, and yellow. The drink has a pronounced orange flavor and a pinch of bitterness which is tempered by the sugar. Also, it is used in a variety of mixed drinks.

The simplified process lets you produce your own at home easily and quite cheaply. Just steep dried Laraha peels in vodka along with whole cloves, cinnamon sticks sugar and coriander seed. Steeping should be done in a cool dry place for around five weeks. After this, it should be allowed to sit still so that the sediments can settle. The resulting liqueur is then poured out and taken as desired.

The ease of producing the drink has played a major role in enhancing its popularity around the world despite the fact that not many people understand the actual story behind the refreshing beverage. Different flavors are available and these are determined by the different ingredients that are added during the production.

Certainly, Curacao brought an entire revolution to the beverage market offering a quality drink to the entire world.