Purple Rain Cocktail

Fruity yet delightfully tart, this Purple Rain Cocktail will take you back to your younger days, listening to your ‘Walkman’ and cruising in your boyfriend’s ‘84 Firebird convertible. This cocktail is purple, fruity, and very refreshing. It’s perfect for game day, girl’s night out, Halloween, Easter, or any evening you desire a tasty libation.

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Throughout the ’80s and ’90s, I adored Prince, his songs, and the movie. As an adult, Prince remained one of my favorite artists. I saw him in concert in NYC, Pittsburgh, and Houston. And I couldn’t miss his residency in the Rio casino in Vegas. His death on April 21, 2016, was a shock that reverberated across the globe. Luckily, we can pay homage to this fantastic artist by raising a glass of this sweet, tart purple cocktail.

Fun Facts About The Song And Prince

  • The song was recorded on August 3, 1983, while Prince performed at a benefit concert for the Minnesota Dance Theatre at the First Avenue nightclub in Minneapolis.
  • ‘Purple Rain’ was initially written as a country song for a collaboration with Stevie Nicks. Nicks was to write the lyrics but decided against it, claiming that she felt overwhelmed by the instrumental version of the song and got cold feet.
  • Prince claimed that the song referred to the end of the world, being with your partner, and allowing your faith in God to guide you through the purple rain.
  • His bandmate, Lisa Coleman (of Lisa and Wendy), shared that she felt the song meant ‘a new beginning. Purple: the sky at dawn, rain: cleansing.
  • The song peaked at number 2, behind Wham’s ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.’
  • In 2004, Prince and Beyonce performed the song for the Grammy Awards.
  • He played during the 2007 Super Bowl halftime show. It was the final song of his set, which he performed in a downpour with purple lights illuminating the stage. It was considered the best halftime show by Billboard and NBC.
  • In 2011, Rolling Stone magazine named the song one of the 500 best songs ever.
  • 2015 saw Pitchfork adding the song to its Best Songs Of The 1980s list.
  • 2016 was the last time Prince performed the song, closing his concert in Atlanta, Georgia, on April 14, 2016.
  • Prince passed away on April 21, 2016, at 57 years old, from an accidental fentanyl overdose.
  • After his death, ‘Purple Rain’ had a resurgence, hitting the No. 1 position on the charts.
A Purple Rain Cocktail in a coupe glass with a twist of lemon on the rim.

History Of The Purple Rain Cocktail

The history behind this drink is murky. One theory is that in the early 1980s, a bartender in Minneapolis, Minnesota, created the purple drink while experimenting with cocktail recipes. The cocktail is a variation on a Long Island Iced Tea. It became popular with bar patrons and is now often served at Prince tribute nights and events.

Ingredients Needed

  • Vodka – use your favorite brand. I like Fris.
  • Blue Curacao liqueur – this is an orange liqueur that is more tart than Grand Marnier or Triple Sec. It also makes the blue color when combined with grenadine. I like De Kuyper or Bols brands.
  • Cranberry juice – use pure cranberry juice and not a cranberry juice cocktail. The latter will make your cocktail too sweet. I like RW Knudsen brand.
  • Pineapple juice – This adds flavor and sweetness. I love the Simply Pineapple brand when I can find it, but it can be hard to locate. I’ve also used Dole pineapple juice in a carton in the refrigerated juice section of your grocery.
  • Grenadine – this is a deep red, non-alcoholic cocktail ingredient. It’s made from pomegranate syrup, sugar, and water. When added to the cocktail, the color mixes with the blue curacao to get that gorgeous purple hue. If it makes your drink too sweet, you can add a bit more lime or lemon juice. You can find it with the mixers at your grocery store (Rose’s Grenadine), but if you want to splurge a little, I love the Liber & Company Real Grenadine. It has a deeper red color and a clean, pomegranate flavor with a hint of orange. 
  • Limes or lemons – you’ll use both the juice and a peel of the zest as garnish.

How To Make A Perfect Citrus Twist

A pretty curl of lemon, lime, or orange zest is decorative and adds a complexity of flavor to the cocktail. Twisting the zest releases its essential oils, adding flavor and a bright aroma.

But how do you get a perfect, pretty slice of citrus peel? With a few tips, it’s easier than you think.

  1. Look for a large, ripe, bright yellow lemon that is firm and feels heavy, with very pronounced dimples on the skin. That bumpy skin means your lemon isn’t overly ripe. Smooth skin on citrus indicates that it is more likely to be older and overly ripe. This means older lemons with smooth skin will have less oils and thus less flavor.
  2. Use a sharp paring knife. A sharp edge will make cutting the peel from the fruit’s flesh and the white pith from the colored zest much easier. 
  3. Wash the lemon thoroughly, then slice it in half crosswise. Next, cut a slice about ¼-inch thick.
  4. Cut a small slit in the rind of the lemon slice. Carefully run your knife around the slice, removing the zest and as little of the bitter pith (white part) as possible.
  5. Wrap the lemon peel around a metal straw, clean wooden spoon handle, or chopstick, making a spiral curl.
  6. Slide the lemon twist from the straw and run it around the rim of your cocktail glass before floating the twist in the drink or hanging it on the side of the glass.

Steps To Make This Drink

  • Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice.
  • Pour in the liquids and shake well.
  • Strain the liquid into a martini, lowball, or whiskey glass.
  • Float the twist in the cocktail and serve.
  • Enjoy.
A Purple Rain Cocktail in a coupe glass with a twist of lemon on the rim on a tarnished silver tray with a shot glass and cocktail shaker in the background. Top side view.

More Cocktail Recipes To Try

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A Purple Rain Cocktail in a coupe glass with a twist of lemon on the rim.

Purple Rain Cocktail


Description

Sweet yet delightfully tart, this Purple Rain Cocktail will take you back to your younger days, listening to your ‘Walkman’ and cruising in your boyfriend’s ‘84 Firebird convertible. This cocktail is purple, fruity, and very refreshing. It’s perfect for game day, girl’s night out, Halloween, Easter, or any evening you desire a tasty libation.


Ingredients

Scale

2 ounces vodka

1 ounce blue curacao liqueur

1 ounce cranberry juice

1 ounce pineapple juice

1 ounce grenadine 

½ ounce lime or lemon juice

Large peel of zest as garnish


Instructions

Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice.

Add the vodka, Blue Curacao, cranberry juice, pineapple juice, and grenadine.

Shake until the outside of the shaker becomes icy cold.

Strain the liquid into a martini, coupe, or an old fashion glass.

Squeeze the lemon twist with your fingers and run it around the rim of the glass.

Float the twist in the cocktail.

Enjoy.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Starters – Cocktails
  • Method: Shake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Purple Rain Cocktail, cocktail recipes, vodka cocktails, grenadine, fruity cocktails, Prince, Halloween cocktails

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