Food & Recipes

These Cocktails Change Color As You Drink Them

These taste like summer!

The latest trend in the craft cocktail movement doubles as a party trick — boozy beverages that not only taste delicious but also change colors while you sip on them.

Want to try out the science experiment-meets-cocktail trend at home? To help, we asked bartenders to share with us their best color-changing cocktail recipes.

Is it mixology or magic? We’ll let you be the judge of these five cocktails that range from easy to difficult.

Glitter Fairy Mimosa

Who says glitter is just for kids? Spirdust is glitter powder that’s meant to be added to adult drinks to give them vibrant, iridescent colors. Really, you can just sprinkle the powder into any of your favorite cocktails. But here’s a pink mimosa recipe courtesy of Spirdust that would be fun to try out at your next brunch gathering.

Difficulty level: Easy

Ingredients:

  • A sprinkle of pink Spirdust
  • 2 oz. white cranberry juice
  • 1 oz. grapefruit juice
  • Sparkling wine or Champagne
  • Optional garnish: Orange slice and cranberries

Instructions: Add the Spirdust and both juices to a glass and top with sparkling wine or Champagne.

Here’s a photo from Spirdust of a cocktail using the pink Spirdust.

The Siren

This cocktail is a best-seller at Jack Dusty, a waterfront nautical-themed bar at the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota in Florida.

Difficulty level: Medium

Ingredients:

  • 3 oz. gin or vodka (whichever you prefer)
  • 1.5 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 oz. St. Germaine Elderflower Liqueur
  • 1 oz. simple syrup
  • Craft ice cubes. You can get creative here, but the bartenders at Jack Dusty make one cube with an orchid frozen in the middle; one with frozen grapefruit and one with frozen cranberry. The ice cubes are the color-changing agents, swirling new flavors and hues into the cocktails as they melt.

Instructions: Shake the liquid ingredients over ice; strain to a glass with your custom cubes and top with bubbles (we recommend a splash of Prosecco!).

Brittany Anas

Carlsbad Painkiller

This tiki-style cocktail calls in butterfly pea flower powder for a fun color-changing effect. It’s courtesy of Beverage Manager Steve George at 20|Twenty Grill in Carlsbad, California.

Difficulty level: Medium

Ingredients:

  • 2 pinches of butterfly pea flower powder (you can find it online here)
  • 1.5 oz. The Real McCoy 5yr Rum
  • .5 oz. St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
  • 2 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1 oz. coconut cream (such as Coco Lopez)
  • .5 oz. lime juice
  • Fresh shaved nutmeg
  • Citrus spritz (such as an orange spritz)
  • Optional garnish: Edible flowers, pineapple leaf, orange slice

Instructions: Fill a glass with crushed ice. Sprinkle a couple of pinches of butterfly pea flower powder over the ice. Combine rum, elderflower liqueur, pineapple juice, coconut cream, lime juice and shake with ice. Strain over the crushed ice and watch the cocktail change colors. Add some fresh-shaved nutmeg and a splash of citrus spritz to finish it off.

20|Twenty Grill

Mystic Margarita

This margarita recipe from Bahama Breeze Island Grille, a Caribbean-inspired restaurant, gets swirls of magenta when you add the sidecar of booze.

Difficulty: Medium

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz. silver tequila
  • 1 oz. St. Germaine Elderflower Liqueur
  • 1.5 oz. fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1 oz. pineapple juice
  • .5 oz. simple syrup

Sidecar ingredients:

  • .5 oz. passion fruit rum
  • .5 oz. prickly pear syrup (order it online or try a DIY recipe)

Instructions: Shake the margarita ingredients with ice; strain into a glass filled with ice cubes. Stir in the sidecar ingredients for a sweet punch and color change.

Bahama Breeze Island Grille

Imperial Purple

Psst, butterfly pea flower tea is an up-and-coming cocktail ingredient used in color-changing cocktails. When it comes in contact with citrus, it changes from purple to blue. This recipe is courtesy of nunu, a Japanese-inspired bar in Philadelphia, and it makes use of the butterfly pea flower.

Difficulty level: Difficult. There are three steps to perfecting this drink, but once you make your specialty bottle of tequila, you’ll be able to whip up this cocktail on a whim.

Blue tequila ingredients:

  • 3 grams of butterfly pea flowers
  • 750-ml. bottle of blanco tequila (nunu uses Espolon Blanco)

Instructions: Infuse the butterfly pea flowers with your tequila for four hours. Strain the infused tequila through a coffee filter into a bottle. Add a pinch of baking soda to turn the color from a purple-ish to a true blue. Shake well.

Jasmine simple syrup ingredients:

  • 1 quart sugar
  • 1 quart  boiling water
  • 1 heaping tablespoon jasmine flower tea

Instructions: Combine sugar and boiling water, letting the sugar dissolve into the water and adding in the jasmine flower tea. Let cool and strain.

Imperial Purple ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz. of your house-made “Blue Tequila”
  • .5 oz. vermouth (the restaurant uses Dolin Blanc Vermouth de Chambéry)
  • 1.25 oz. lime juice
  • .5 oz. of your house-made jasmine simple syrup
  • .5 oz. pineapple juice

Instructions: Pour your tequila into a clean and dry shot glass (otherwise it will change colors). In a shaker, combine the vermouth, lime juice, jasmine simple syrup and pineapple juice. Shake with ice. Strain into a glass over fresh ice. When you’re ready for the color change, drop in your tequila and watch it change from blue to purple.

nunu

Would you try any of these cocktails at home? If they seem a little too involved, you could always add some butterfly pea flower powder to your favorite cocktail for a color-changing effect or simply make ice cubes with juice so that they change the flavor profile and color of your cocktail as they melt!

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