It was at the turn of the 19th century, as the temperance movement and the Prohibition Eras began to engulf Europe and America that the first stirrings of mocktails, or non-alcoholic renditions of cocktails began to be served in restaurants and iconic bars. Mocktails then retain the fruity, citrusy and juicy elements of a traditional alcoholic mix, sans the bitterness and levity provided by an indulgent spirit.
Mocktails quickly became popular as substitutes for those who preferred to abstain from alcoholic drinks, as ‘virgin’ options, especially for family-friendly gatherings. One such popular mocktail which is a favourite among kids and adults for its deep, vibrant hue is the Blue Lagoon.
A classic cocktail, the drink is in fact traditionally made using vodka, lemon-lime soda and generous helpings of blue curaçao or blue raspberry syrup and even a bit of pineapple juice which adds a layer of complexity to the mix. The cocktail in fact predates the famed movie of the same name and is said to have been developed by Andy MacElhone, the son of the famed bartender Harry MacElhone during the latter half of the 20th century.
The drink actually garnered attention particularly during the 1980s, an era marked by the proliferation of many colourful and visually seductive drinks. It is no surprise then that the blue in the curaçao attracted the attention of mixologists and the Blue Lagoon quickly started appearing in the rosters of bartenders keen on celebrating tropical flavours.
Inspired by Caribbean influences, the primary component of the drink is the delicious curaçao made using the dried peel of Lahara, a citrus fruit. The blue infused into the curaçao gives it an irresistible vibrancy and lemonade, when added to the recipe nicely compliments this flavour to introduce a tartness into the beverage.
The classic Blue Lagoon cocktail can be mixed by following a couple of different recipes. One of them involves shaking and stirring ingredients together, while the other comprises a blend of all ingredients mixed with crushed ice whipped into a frozen drink.
A party favourite, the non-alcoholic version is widely concocted especially during kids’ birthday parties or gatherings for young adults where the inviting mocktail is the perfect respite after hours of play to quench a rising thirst. The mocktail is also an ideal alternative during summers and while setting up a tropical bar, you can serve it along with a pina colada or a virgin mojito for tiki party feels.
Find out below a recipe to blend this sweet drink made with ample flavours of lemon and lime, zesty notes of the curaçao and the fizz of sparkling water or soda:
Combine blue curacao and lime in a tall glass with lots of ice.
Top up with Sprite or soda.
Garnish with a lime wedge and maraschino cherry.