The Blue Paradise, like many cocktails with blue in the name, is not blue. The ingredients must be blue then, right? Nope, purple, red and brown and we can pretty much guarantee that the mixing of these colors do not make blue either. This non-blue drink is credited to a Belgian bartender by the name of Emil Bauwens, of Bar Saint-James in Brussels, showing up first in the cocktail book Livre de Cocktails (1949) and really nowhere else.
A name like Blue Paradise conjures images of beaches, palm trees, and tiki drinks with little umbrellas. The ingredients, however, don’t lend itself to something you would drink out of a pineapple. These ingredients do break away from the many, many, many gin plus another ingredient cocktails that dominate recipe books. Outside of the cognac, there are two pretty uncommon ingredients for cocktails in Dubonnet Rouge and Parfait d’Amour. Dubonnet Rouge is an apertif with a deep red color and a wine base. Parfait d’Amour, a purple liqueur of Dutch origins with a Curacao base and flowery ingredients, stands out as the most unusual of the ingredients. It may look like melted grape popsicles, but the taste is probably closer to eating rose petals. Unfortunately, the color and ingredients don’t give any hints to the origin of the name, and there is really no other indication. Only Bauwens could really explain how it came to be.
Join us as we discuss this enigmatically-named cocktail that digs up a libretto with the same name and the possibility that Henry the IV used Parfait d’Amour to seduce women. We also pose the question: Were dyes being put in liqueurs to make sure people weren’t accidentally drinking the wrong clear liquid?
Here are the drink ingredients:
- 2 oz – cognac (we used Remy Martin)
- 1 oz – Dubbonet Rouge
- 4 dashes – Parfait Amour
We tried the parfait amour initially by itself…because that’s how we do. Kevin remarked that it tasted like Goo Gone smells, a popular adhesive solvent. I thought it was mostly and non-commitally interesting; not terrible but not amazing. I loved trying it though, I haven’t tried anything like it so far.
The cocktail itself was likewise interesting. We weren’t bowled over and I found the Dubonnet dominated the flavor of the drink. My overall impression was kind of a synthetic vinyly taste, and I know that sounds bad, but knowing that it isn’t actually some kind of liquid polymer makes the beverage interesting as I tried to pull out all of the flavors gathered together in one glass. We all agreed it was not a go to cocktail but fun nevertheless to try and discuss.
Transition music: Cephalopod by Kevin MacLeod
Closing Music: Big Blue Day by Uncle Neptune