While it may seem a bit kitschy, or intentionally trendy, color changing alcohol is a great way to step up your cocktail game. The trick? Using butterfly pea flowers as the natural dye. These flowers are traditionally used to make Butterfly Pea Flower Tea in South East Asia. However, when you infuse them with an alcohol such as vodka or gin, they take on a whole new use.
Mixed with an acid such as lemon juice, something infused with butterfly pea flowers will turn from blue to purple. This works with the tea of course, you don’t HAVE to use alcohol, but for the sake of cocktails that’s I’m mostly discussing color changing alcohol. I’ve explained how to make Butterfly Pea Flower Infused Vodka which is a great starting point. You can use the same method to infuse gin, tequila, or any liquor you choose.
On the other hand, you can mix the infusion with tonic and it will turn bright pink. So a butterfly pea flower infused gin with tonic will be a beautiful pink color. Of course, when you start the cocktail it is blue, and ‘magically’ (ok, chemically) turns pink when mixed. It definitely adds a bit of showmanship to your cocktails.
During this past month I’ve been using Butterfly Pea Flowers for as many different things as I can, even going so far as to use the flowers to dye milk blue. The reason? Some Butterfly Pea Flower Cupcakes. Being that it is a natural dye means you can safely use it in any recipes that call for a liquid. Just infuse the flowers into the liquid and voila, blue.
If the cocktail you are making does not have an acid or tonic, you are still left with a beautiful royal blue color. This to me is less off putting than blue curacao because it does not use artificial dye. In fact, the main reason I started experimenting with Butterfly Pea Flowers was because I wanted to make a Butterfly Pea Flower Liqueur, or Creme de Butterfly. This is used for an Aviation variation that uses said liqueur instead of the traditional creme de violette. The inspiration being…flowers.
If you have never used butterfly pea flowers to make color changing alcohol, I suggest you give it a try. The flowers are not expensive and you can buy any amount big or small on Amazon. I have already infused butterfly pea flowers with vodka and gin, and next I plan to do a silver tequila for Butterfly Margaritas! As that has lime juice as an ingredient, the drink will turn from blue to purple. I just have to buy a new blender. Might be fun to experiment with keto-friendly alcohol mixed drinks and see how different flavors and ingredients can create unique and delicious cocktails.
Color Changing Alcohol Video
Here’s a video I made showing the transition. It is slightly sped up, but that’s only because I filmed extremely slowly. The change is near instantaneous once you stir.
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