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Fun Facts: Curaçao

January 18th, 2012

Photo credit: Micheal Nassar

Did you know that Curaçao liqueur is made from the rind of oranges? How do they do that!

The signature liqueur is actually flavored with the dried peel of the laraha orange, a non-native plant that developed from the sweet Valencia oranges, which were transplanted to Curaçao by Spanish explorers in the 16th century.

While the arid, tropical climate of Curaçao makes for the perfect island getaway, combined with nutrient-poor soil, the conditions proved unsuitable for Valencia cultivation, resulting in a small, bitter fruit. The rind, however, maintained much of the aromatic essence of the Valencia varietal, and these trees were eventually bred into the current laraha variety, whose fruits remain bitter.

To create the liqueur, the rind of the fruit is dried, which brings out the fragrant oils. After soaking in a still with alcohol and water for several days, the peel is removed and other spices are added.

Naturally colorless, artificial colourings are added to enhance the exotic appeal (no pun intended) of the drink, making it that much more fun for tropical cocktails by the beach.

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