Purple Food Colorings: Anthocyanin
Color Talk Resources from Tales of the Cocktail

Cocktail Coloring - Natural Food Colorings to Use in Drinks

Below is a list of colorings that can be used to turn your cocktails  blue, green, red, yellow, black, white, etc. and include everything from dragon fruit to squid ink. 

I've made tasting notes when I've tried the colorings, and sometimes added some commentary about the colors. The links are to purchase items from Amazon. 

 

Blue and Purple

  • 916CFBVuqdL._SL1500_Purple Corn [buy]  no flavor when added to liquor/water. Boiled purple corn produces tons of deep purple color and has a slight corn husk note. 
  • Butterfly Pea Flower [tea bags] [flowers] [powder form] - This flower starts off bright blue in neutral water/alcohol/syrup. It changes to purplish to pink when something acidic is added, like most cocktail ingredients. It tastes only slightly tannic with a subtle wilted vegetation note. 
  • 913NZ+Mh2ZL._SX522_Blueberries [freeze dried] - These turn from light blue to pink. They have a vegetal grassy note; slightly perfumy. Not enjoyable as a flavor. Perhaps fresh is best. 
  • Blackberries - Produce good purple color. Taste (frozen blackberries) weedy, earthy; fresh grass notes. 
  • Blue Spirulina Powder [buy] Brilliant color! There is a slight seaweed nose but not much flavor at all, so this is good for coloring. With added acids like citrus juice, it changes to a turquoise blue.  See the picture below. 
  • Acai Powder [link
  • Ebony Carrot Supercolor Powder [link]

 

 

Red and Pink 

  • 81WWupJAPfL._AC_UL320_Raspberries [freeze dried] - These don't release as much color as one might suspect. The taste is super bright citric sharpness. These would probably add citric acid taste to beverages. 
  • Hibiscus [dried] -  Produce an intense color with a small amount; purplish red. They have a sharp dried leaf note. 
  • Strawberries [freeze dried] - Because the red color is just on the outside, strawberries tend to give off only a slight gentle pink color. Freeze dried strawberries seem to give more color than frozen/fresh. 

  • Beets [beet powder] - Fresh beets give bright color; dried more often a dried blood color. The taste of beet powder can be cardboard-meets-super dry earth/dirt, so best to minimize the amount used. 
  • 91wVBs-4RxL._SL1500_Cranberry - Does not release much color. Not recommended. 
  • Dragon Fruit Powder [buy] - I have not tried this but it was recommended to me by someone who has. I believe this is was Starbucks and other brands use to make "unicorn foods." 
  • Cochineal - This dried insect makes a red to purple color range and is used in some liqueurs including Bruto Americano. It is available for purchase but please ensure you buy a version approved for food use. By default it will be intended for use on fabrics. 

 

Yellow and Orange

  • 91FUxZ1XMiL._SL1500_Annatto [buy] - These can be either red seeds or ground to yellow in color to start with, and can produce a bright orange color. The flavor has touch of anise and dry carrot peel, very much in the range of cocktail flavors. 
  • Turmeric [buy] - Deep mustard yellow color. Taste is bright yet grounded earthy; will provide base notes in drinks. 
  • Saffron [buy] - Gorgeous golden honey yellow color with only 1-2 threads. Not much flavor; grassy like sucking on a flower petal; slightly woody. 
  • Mustard Seed/powder - Most is a mellow yellow color. 
  • Orange Carrot Supercolor Powder [buy]
  • Paprika - Doesn't seem very effective as a colorant but has strong flavor.  

 

Green

  • 61wmdwqda3L._SX522_Matcha tea [buy powder] - The kind I tried was a tea with jasmine. It had a swampy tannic bad flavor. Probably other brands taste better. (The linked powder is not the brand I purchased.)
  • Green Spirulina Powder [buy] - Unfortunate "low tide" smell; seaweed to fishy. However the taste comes through only slightly and is probably hideable beneath other ingredients. 
  • Fresh green herbs and plants, muddled to order - anything with chlorophyll
  • Wheatgrass powder [buy]
  • Pandan Leaf Powder [buy]

 

Black

  • 813hGZPPLbL._SL1500_Activated Charcoal (not recommended) - Note that activated charcoal can disable medications if taken within a few hours. I don't recommend using it on cocktail menus. This is not an approved food coloring in the United States. More information here
  • Carbon Black - This is an approved food color in the EU and Canada, but not in the United States. 
  • Food Coloring [link]
  • Black Sesame Seeds [link] - These can make cocktails look greyish to blackish. 
  • Squid or Cuttlefish ink [powder] [jar] - Available powdered or in liquid form. This is a commonly used food coloring though not vegetarian-friendly. 
  • Black Currants - Have a very dark red/black color. 

 

White

  • Milk
  • Blanche Absinthe 
  • Cloudy Ice 
  • Anything that louches

 

 

Below: Blue spirulina diluted with water, with added citric acid, and with lemon juice. 

Blue spirulina (2)

 

Green Spirulina, in water or with added lemon juice. 

Green spirulina

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