Discover a rainbow of colorful cocktails that please the eyes before they tickle the taste buds.
Colorful cocktails get a bad rap.
It’s easy for hardcore mixologists to look down upon cocktails notable for their fun colors. Often, colorful drinks are gender-coded as ‘girlie’ – especially when the color is a pastel shade of pink, blue or green.
To this, we say foul! It’s as unfair to judge a cocktail by its color as it is to judge the taste of durian (the stinkiest fruit in the world) by its smell.
As for us, we appreciate the aesthetics when tasty cocktails are as vivid as a peacock’s plumage. There’s simply nothing wrong with satisfying multiple senses at the time.
What Are Colorful Cocktails?
Colorful cocktails run the gamut from sweet and fruity summer sippers to complex, herbaceous drinks crafted with liquors like cognac and green chartreuse. Some are shaken and some are stirred while others are simply poured into a glass.
There’s not just one type of colorful cocktail. These eye-catching drinks multi-task by spanning the pigments of the rainbow while featuring a range of liquors including bourbon, cointreau, gin, rum, tequila and vodka.
Mixologists have been crafting colorful cocktails for over a century. And, while some pre-date prohibition, others originated during the past few decades.
Crafting Colorful Cocktails at Home
Crafting colorful cocktails at home creates a wow factor. And, while it’s fun to serve show stopping drinks to friends and family, an added benefit is that you can choose to craft your cocktails with top quality ingredients.
Unlike bars and restaurants which may use processed juices loaded with sugar and food colorings, you can create drinks using real fruit. The difference is astounding.
There’s nothing like drinking a Hurricane made with freshly squeezed passion fruit juice. The fresh juice brings an earthy dimension to the drink that’s not overly acidic or sweet. Doing so elevates the Mardi Gras cocktail from frat boy swill to something truly special.
These are our favorite colorful cocktail recipes to craft at home:
24 of the Best Colorful Cocktails
The Jungle Bird looks and tastes great whether your in an actual jungle or an urban jungle.
With its rainbow or colors, the Tequila Sunrise cocktail may be the most colorful cocktail of them all.
Don't just think pink, drink pink! And, when you follow our recipe, the Pink Lady will perfectly fit the bill.
There's nothing fuzzy about the Fuzzy Navel's color. The peachy cocktail is as orange as its the orange juice with which it's crafted.
The Hurricane is a New Orleans classic. When crafted with fresh ingredients, the colorful cocktail is also delicious.
This Orange Creamsicle is for adults only. It's also orange as its name implies.
There's no need to feel dirty when you drink a Dirty Shirley. This red cocktail is a sweet delight.
The Aviation is your drink if purple is your passion. The classic gin cocktail gets its distinct color from crème de violette.
Aviation fans will appreciate the Paper Plane for both its name and sophistication. However, the bourbon cocktail is orange instead of purple.
You may exclaim Yahoo when you sip a Woo Hoo. The red cocktail is nothing short of a sweet surprise.
Between the Sheets
Despite its frivolous name, the Between the Sheets cocktail is a serious sipper crafted with cognac, rum, orange liqueur and fresh lemon juice.
Although the grasshopper is as green as grass, grass isn't one of the creamy cocktails ingredients. Phew!
Will the Old Pal be your new best friends? It will certainly be your new red friend.
You don't have to live in a big city to appreciat the Cosmopolitan and its pretty pink shade.
The Brown Derby isn't actually brown. This makes sense since none of its ingredients are that color.
The Last Word is at the head of the class when it comes to green gin cocktails.
New York Sour
Red wine turns a Whiskey Sour into a New York Sour. It also adds a pop of purple color.
The Kir Royale is cocktail royalty. As a bonus, the Champagne cocktail is festive fthanks to its bright red hue.
Whipped orange juice provides the Garibaldi's color while Campari provides its cool factor.
Our Sidecar recipe uses bourbon instead of gin. It's also yellow. Sue us.
Is the Clover Club red or pink? It doesn't matter. This pre-prohibition cocktail has withstood the test of time either way.
Sex on the Beach Recipe
- Despite its naughty name, the Sex in the City is a colorful cocktail that tastes fruity and fun.
You may want to take a siesta after you imbibe a Siesta cocktail. It's as potent as it is colorful.
Our easy Tomate cocktail recipe has just has four ingredients including water and ice. Despite the cocktail's name and red color, a tomato is not one of these ingredients.
The Hurricane cocktail is big, boozy and fruity-tooty. If made right, it can also be surprisingly complex. Make one at home with two rums, four juices, grenadine and simple syrup.
- 2 ounces white rum
- 2 ounces dark rum
- 2 ounces passion fruit juice
- 1 ounce orange juice
- 1/2 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/2 ounce grenadine
- 1/2 ounce simple syrup
- 1 maraschino cherry
- orange peel
- ice cubes
- Combine white rum, dark rum, passion fruit juice, orange juice, lime juice, grenadine and simple syrup a shaker.
- Add ice and shake vigorously for approximately 20 seconds until the drink is properly chilled and blended.
- Strain into a hurricane glass filled with ice.
- Add a maraschino cherry and orange twist as garnish.
- You can use a highball glass if you don't have a hurricane glass.
- We made our juices from fresh fruit but you can use juice from the grocery store.
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Colorful Cocktail FAQs
Colorful cocktails are cocktails that reflect the colors of the rainbow.
The best colorful cocktails contain fresh juices. Our favorites include the Tequila Sunrise, Pink Lady, Fuzzy Navel and Hurricane.
The best place to drink colorful cocktail is at home since you craft them with fresh juice and other natural ingredients.
It’s always a good time to drink colorful cocktails.
About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.
Original Publication Date: April 29, 2023