How to make Blue Colored Drinks – A Fat Guide

So you want a blue drink for whatever reason, and you wanted options because you didn’t believe Blue Curacao and Artificial Food coloring was your only option. This Fat Guide is made for you, with a compilation of methods and links I’ve come across with a single goal – to make a blue drink.

Small disclaimer that I haven’t tried all of them. I simply research and compiled. Let’s start with the most interesting ones.

Make Natural Blue Food Coloring

To make natural food coloring, natural whole foods need to be used.

The culprit responsible for making most food blue is Anthocyanin, which is present in pretty much all the blue food you can think of. Anthocyanin appears red, purple or blue depending on the pH, or the acidity or basicity of something. Food would appear more red or pinkish with low pH (acidic), and bluish with higher pH (basic), with purple being somewhere in the middle. Blueberry, raspberry, black rice, blood oranges all contain Anthocynanins.

Note that the different concentrations of Anthocynanin in food mean that there is no specific pH that results in a specific shade of color. For example, Purple Carrots do contain Anthocyanin but the purple color is more resistant to pH changes. You have to adjust and experiment according to the food used. This also means that the resulting food coloring might change colors according to the food you add it to. If you add them to something that contains lemon for example, expect the food to appear more purple-ish or even pinkish than blue.

Most of the methods would thus involve making a fruit/vegetable stock or juice to extract the Anthocynanin. Acidity would be manipulated in the form of adding lemon or buttermilk to lower pH or more acidic, and baking soda for higher pH or more basic.

Red Cabbage

From FeastingOnFruit

FeastingOnFruit got a pretty good tutorial in both written and video form for making natural blue food coloring with Red Cabbage. You can also consult Wikihow with step by step pictures. The TLDR version is to boil red cabbage in water to obtain purple cabbage stock, then simmer and reduce to concentrate this stock until syrupy, then let cool and add baking soda bit by bit until it turns blue. To most people this is probably the best method in terms of price and availability if you want a non-artificial food coloring.

Price & Availability: Red cabbage and baking soda are pretty easy to find, and is also cheap.

Taste: The dye itself will taste like cabbage and baking soda, but the good news is we only need to use a couple of drops, so it shouldn’t affect the flavor of the drink.

Ease: Easy to make and use. Like your normal food coloring, drip the dye in. It does take some time to make the dye though.

Cons: If you add to acidic food/drinks the color changes back to purple. Adjust accordingly. Shelf life of this is probably not very long, maybe a couple of weeks.

Butterfly Pea

Remember the thing about Anthocyanin changing colors? Thailand and Vietnam got a drink called Nam Dok Anchan (I urge you to see this video to see the whole effect) that utilizes Butterfly Pea to create a magical looking drink.

From Youtube Channel Asian Mocktail

A plant that is commonly used in South East Asia to make tea, which is used a natural blue dye to be used in dishes like the following blue rice. Simply brew the flower in boiling water like you would for tea, then strain and use the tea however you like.

From TheFinder

Price & Availability: Pretty hard to find unless you are in South East Asia. Probably have to order online, and thus might be expensive if you are not in South East Asia.

Taste: Flavor is said to be woody and earthy, though very light compared to the popular black tea.

Ease: Easy to make and use. The tea itself is already drinkable as well.

Cons: If you add to acidic food/drinks the color changes back to purple. Adjust accordingly. Hard to find.

Blue or Black Goji Berry

Boil a few black goji berries, approx 5-7 berries per cup, and let steep for 3-4 minutes. Your cup of tea will begin to turn blue within a minute. If you would like your blue tea to change color (kids love this!), then simply add a drop of lemon or lime juice to your drink and it’ll magically turn pink.
From BlueChai

Similar to the Butterfly Pea above, Goji Berries can be used to make a tea, also known as Wolf Berry Tea. Just pour hot water over the Goji berries and enjoy. Though the normal red Goji Berries are native to Asia, sources seem to obtain the blue/black ones from China.

Price & Availability: Like the Butterfly Pea, price and availability depends on where you are from. Might be expensive if you are not in Asia.

Taste: Berry like, sweet flavour that is pretty mild.

Ease: Easy to make and use. The tea itself is already drinkable as well.

Cons: If you add to acidic food/drinks the color changes back to purple. Adjust accordingly. Hard to find.

Blue Majik Spirulina

From Amazon

Spirulina is a blue-green algae that is sold as a dietary supplement, usually sold in powder form. Blue Majik is an extract of phycocyanin in Spirulina, which has a bluish hue to it.

Price & Availability: Dietary supplements like this are usually expensive, and is about US$50 for 1 50gram bottle.

Taste: Has a funky taste, like seaweed, a little sulfuric and perhaps even fishy. But most likely with the small amount you need to use for color the taste won’t matter.

Ease: Just dump some of that powder in and mix.

Cons: If you add to acidic food/drinks the color changes. Adjust accordingly. Expensive.

Dissolving Skittles

The most popular way (in terms of youtube views) seem to be dissolving Skittles (yeah, the candy) in Vodka overnight, strain them using coffee filters so they are clear and free of Skittle sediments, then mix in equal volumes of Sprite. It will taste like Vodka with Sprite, with a little added sugar from the Skittles.

If for whatever reason that made you go “hot damn I better be dissolving some skittles now to taste the rainbow” here is yet another useful link.

But of course, if you are dissolving Skittles, then you are dissolving whatever Skittles are made of, which is Sugar, Corn Syrup and some food coloring, among other ingredients. To add to that, to obtain the color Blue, the tropical Skittles must be used, since normal Skittles don’t have a blue candy.

I am pretty sure that there is a school science experiment out there that documented this, rotting in a teacher’s drawer, but I do believe that water is probably also a better solvent if the sole purpose is to dissolve Skittles.

Price & Availability: Depends on what you decide to dissolve your skittles in. Water would be cheapest. Tropical skittles might be hard to find, although Amazon is a thing.

Taste: Adds the taste of diluted sugar water to your food. Information obtained from watching this particular video about throwing skittles into a juicing machine and a lot of other skittle water challenge (a challenge where they dissolve a bag of skittles into water then drink the water.

Ease: You are essentially just dissolving sugar and existing food coloring. While the idea of drinking the rainbow might sound appealing to some, the effort taken for this is far greater for what it actually is.

Cons: Other than the factor of being able to say that your creation is made out of Skittles, almost everything else is a negative. You require too much equipment, effort and time to make this.

Buy a drink that’s already blue

Price & Availability: Depends on what you buy, but blue colored sports drinks can be found pretty easily.

Taste: Again, depends on what you buy.

Ease: It’s already blue and ready to drink. Literally the easiest option just need some money.

Cons: You can’t control the taste (without using them to mix). Since they are ready made, the blue colors are also usually achieved using artificial food coloring, which may bother some people.

Blue Sports Drinks

 

Image result for blue gatorade
From Walmart.com

Sports drinks are usually colorful, so this makes for an easy option. You get exactly what you see in terms of blue-ness.

Blue Hawaiian Punch

Hawaiian Punch Juice, Berry Blue Typhoon, 128 Fl Oz, 1 Count
From Walmart.com

Almost like a sports drink, but is a fruit punch. Like the Blue Curacao below, the color is due to food coloring, and may be pretty rare in grocery stores.

Blue Curaçao

Senior-Liqueur-Blue-Curacao.jpg
From Wikipedia

Made from the dried peels of a bitter orange native to the island of Curacao (hence the name). An essential ingredient in many cocktail recipes trying to achieve a blue color. Has an orange-like flavor and naturally colorless. Traditionally the blue color may have been achieved using the Butterfly Pea (we’ll get to this later again), a flower native to South East Asia. But now, Blue Curacao are most likely colored with Brilliant Blue food coloring. This means that using Blue Curacao doesn’t exactly achieve anything special in terms of color. Stick to normal food coloring unless you are after the taste of the Blue Curacao. You can also find Blue Curacao Syrup, which gives you the taste of Blue Curacao but without alcohol content (as usual, probably depends on brand).

If you are interested in utilising Blue Curacao, here is an article with 10 recipes for Blue Curacao cocktails.

Using Food Coloring

Liquid Dye

From Walmart.com
RedMart Bake King Royal Blue Colour 0
From redmart.com

Price & Availability: Where I live it’s less than a couple of bucks for a small 28ml bottle. Most supermarkets should stock it. Probably the cheapest and most readily available option.

Taste: These types of food coloring are usually flavorless.

Ease: Very easy to use and buy. Just put a drop into your drink and stir. Deeper blue can be achieved by simply using more.

Cons: Though edible, ingredients used to make liquid food dye is artificial (also depends on manufacturer), which may be important to some. Those with pre-existing asthma might be more sensitive to this than others.

Liquid Gel Dye

12 Color Cake Food Coloring Liqua-Gel Decorating Baking Set - U.S. Cake Supply .75 fl. Oz. (20ml) Bottles Primary Popular Colors
From Amazon

Price & Availability: Slightly harder to find than liquid food coloring, and also a bit more expensive.

Taste: These types of food coloring are usually flavorless.

Ease: Almost as easy to use as liquid food coloring, but it might be a bit more concentrated. But since it is gel like in form, it might be easier to use for foods with less liquid.

Cons: Still artificial. May actually affect the food flavor.

Gel Paste Dye

 

From Amazon

Price & Availability: Slightly harder to find than liquid food coloring, and also a bit more expensive.

Taste: These types of food coloring are usually flavorless, but it might vary according to manufacturer/brand.

Ease: Almost as easy to use as liquid food coloring, but it might be a bit more concentrated. But since it is gel like in form, it might be easier to use for foods with less liquid.

Cons: Still might be artificial. May actually affect the food flavor. Probably quite bad to be using for a drink due to its even higher concentration.

Powdered Dye

Price & Availability: Hardest to find.

Taste: These types of food coloring are usually flavorless, but it might vary according to manufacturer/brand.

Ease: Easy to use, and like the previous gel dyes, this is even better for dry foods.

Cons: Still might be artificial. May actually affect the food flavor.

Natural Food Coloring

From redmart

Price & Availability: Hard to find in most grocery stores. Also much more expensive than regular food coloring.

Taste: Usually made with fruits and vegetables, but should be almost flavorless.

Ease: Easy to use, and like the previous gel dyes, this is even better for dry foods.

Cons: Money… As well as pH being a consideration because of natural food being used (see next paragraph on why).

Other Resources

Instructables’ Article on Blue Food cooking

Blue Potatoes

Anthocyanin article on Wikipedia (useful for checking foods containing anthocyanin and other general information)

A scientific research paper on Anthocyanin content in common foods

A scientific research paper on Anthocyanin (though, this was too sciencey for a mere fat boi)

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