How to Add Color to Your Cocktails: A Rainbow of (Natural) Color

A fun colored cocktail can create an entirely different ambience to your craft cocktail experience. Unfortunately, brightly colored cocktails are usually the sign of artificial colors, “red dye #2″ or unnaturally bright hues.

But, it doesn’t have to be this way! In fact, here are dozens of beautifully and brightly colored natural ingredients that you can use to make cocktails of just about any color

How to make Red Cocktails

Cosmopolitan , Hurricane and Strawberry Daiquiri are some well-known red cocktail , but the possibilities go far beyond these classics! Check your kitchen cabinets, home bar and vegetabl drawer for some red-inspiring ingredients.

You can turn to liqueurs, like Campari and Martini Riserva, to achieve a bold red colored cocktail. Or, get some help from red colored bitter’s, grenadine, fruity raspberries, pomegranates, or tart cranberries. There’s so many options for the color “red”, it’s hard to go wrong!

Product

Campari
Grenadine
Pana
Luxardo aperitivo
Cappelleti
Peychauds Bitters
Contrqatti Bitter
Martini Riserva
Angostura Bitters
Wild Roots Raspberry
Martini Bitter
Cinzano Bitter
Cranberry Liqueur
Cherry Liquer
Raspberry Liquer

Fruit

Strawberry
Raspberry
Cherry
Red Dragon Fruit
Pomegranate
Blood Orange
Watermelon
Cranberry
Ruby Red Grapefruit
Pink Flesh Apple
Tomatoes
Sorrel Fruit
Goji Berries

Vegetables

Beet
Red Bell Pepper
Rhubarb
Radish
Beet Microgreens

Herbs, Spices,
Teas & Other

Rooibos tea
Hibiscus Flower Tea
Pink peppercorn
Paprika
Saffron
Red bean

How to make Orange Cocktails

Moving down the rainbow, orange cocktails  are naturally next. Aperol can turn a standard glass of champagne into an orange and tasty Aperol Spritz. Or, some fresh mango can turn a summer margarita into a blended glass of orange-y goodness. Pro tip: add a tajin rim for a spicy kick. You may not have tajin, but as you look through this list, I think you’ll find you may already have a naturally orange color-boosting ingredient tucked away in your pantry or fridge!

Product

Creole Shrub
Pamplemousse
Arancello
Aperol
Grand Marrier
Orange Curaçao

Fruit

Papaya
Oranges
Mango
Apricot
Persimmon
Cantaloupe
Nectarines
Passion Fruit
Orange Tomatoes
Kumquat
Papaya
Orange Prickly Pear

Vegetables

Carrot
Orange Bell Peppers
Habanero
Pumpkin
Squash Blossoms
Butternit Squash

Herbs, Spices,
Teas & Other

Saffron
Tumeric
Garam Masala

How to make Yellow Cocktails

Creating a naturally yellow cocktail will generally require fruits like pineapple, lemon and yellow dragon fruit. So, definitely expect a sweet and fruity concoction!You can also create a rum-forward Dirty Banana cocktail with banana liqueur and  real bananas. (Warning: this cocktail is just as filling as it is tasty!)

Not all yellow ingredients are fruit, however – yellow bell peppers, beets, carrots and squash aren’t nearly as sweet and bring their own unique flavors too. Try experimenting with them in syrups or purees to bring out their color and flavor!

Product

Yellow Chartreuse
Strega
Galiano
Banana Liqueur
Salers Gentian
Limoncello
Suze
Damiana
St. Germain
Pear Liqueur

Fruit

Yellow Watermelon
Grapefruit
Yellow Dragon Fruit
Pineapple
Banana
Mango
Papaya
Nectarine
Yellow Tomatoes
Golden Kiwi
Pear
Jackfruit
Golden Raspberry
Gooseberry
Lemon
Star Fruit
Pomelo
Etrog

Vegetables

Yellow Bell Pepper
Yellow beets
Yellow Carrots
Squash

Herbs, Spices,
Teas & Other

Chamomile
Corn

How to make Green Cocktails

Feelin’ lucky? Then why not spruce up your cocktail with a fun green hue! Green doesn’t have to be relegated to St. Patrick’s Day (and certainly doesn’t have to be filled with food coloring.) While Apple Pucker can create a vibrant apple martini and Midori can brighten up a sour, both liqueurs are pretty sweet. If you want something more refreshing, then cucumber, lime, mint and basil are all great options. I love getting creative when creating cocktails, so why not try several green elements together? I’ll be the first to tell you that cucumber and mint are a match made in heaven! 

Product

Green Chartreuse
Midori
Creme De Menthe
Apple Pucker
Genepy
Ancho Reyes Verde
Absinthe
Ty Ku Citrus
Peppermint Liqueur

Fruit

Kiwi
Apple
Pear
Avocado
Lime
Grape
Green Tomato
Honeydew Melon
Tomatillo
Cherimoya
Star Fruit

Vegetables

Cucumber
Celery
Green Bell Pepper
Spinach
Kale
Green Bean
Asparagus

Herbs, Spices,
Teas & Other

Green Tea
Capers
Olive
Basil
Sage
Thyme
Mint
Parsley
Cilantro
Dill
Rosemary
Green Spirulina

How to make Blue Cocktails

If you’ve ever had a blue cocktail (does Blue Lagoon, Blue Hawaiin or Blue Monday ring a bell?), then the blue hue was most likely thanks to blue Curaçao. While I won’t knock Blue Curaçao, it’s also made with artificial coloring and wouldn’t exactly qualify as “natural”. While there aren’t a ton of natural blues out there, here are a few! Try playing with purple cabbage, blue spirulina, or even blue corn flowers. Feeling less adventurous? Blueberries work well too!

Product

Blue Curaçao
Hypnotiq
Crème De Violette
(some brands)

Fruit

Blueberries
Wine grapes
Damson Plums

Vegetables

Purple Cabbage

Herbs, Spices,
Teas & Other

Butterfly pea Flower
Blue Spirulina
Blue Corn Flowers

How to make Purple Cocktails

Why would you want to make a purple cocktail? Why not? Purple is a color found quite often in natural ingredients, from fruit to vegetables to flowers, teas and spices. It’s a beautiful and vibrant color with loads of flavor options! Lavender liqueur (or fresh lavender), elderberry, hibiscur  or muddled blackberries can all add a delicious taste while creating a gorgeous purple hue in your glass.

Product

Crème De Violette
(some brands)
Parfait Amor
Empress indigo gin
Chambord
Crème De Cassis
Red Wine
Lavender Liqueur
Marionberry Liqueur
Loganberry Liqueur
Sloe Gin

Fruit

Figs
Grapes
Blackberries
Blueberries
Plums
Prunes
Raisins
Currants
Elderberry
Passion Fruit
Star Apple
Prickly Pear
Pluot

Vegetables

Purple Carrots
Raddichio
Beets
Eggplant
Red Shiso
Purple Cauliflower
Turnips
Kohlrabi

Herbs, Spices,
Teas & Other

Hibiscus
Purple potato
Purple Beans
Lavender
Purple Basil
Violets
Lavender

Naturally Flavored Cocktails

So that’s a wrap! Hopefully this guide has given you some great inspiration for naturally flavored cocktails that span the whole rainbow. Whatever color you’re trying to create, you have options for sweet, savory, and somewhere in between.  By the way: if you’re looking to make a lighter or “pastel” colored drink, I recommend adding egg whites or other cocktail foams. These foams will lighten up the color as well as creating a deliciously velvety texture.

Making something gorgeous?  Come share with us in our Craft Cocktail Club!  I’d love to see your naturally colored cocktail creations!