There are a lot of flavors to choose from when it comes to cool, refreshing, summertime beverages, but the hands-down best has got to be blue. Blue snow cones, blue ICEEs, blue Gatorade, and even blue candies all prove that when you need to cool off and chill, blue flavor does it best. And almost always, that blue flavor is blue raspberry. But wait, have you ever actually seen a real blue raspberry? For those who are nature-averse: Raspberries are red. So, what is blue raspberry? What flavor is it? Are blue raspberries real, do they even exist? And what is blue raspberry flavored raspberry even made of? Stop those blue-stained lips from flapping for one second and I’ll tell you.
What is blue raspberry? And where did blue raspberry come from?
Well, it all began in the 1950s when companies created raspberry flavored-products with Red No. 2, which created a dark, wine-hued color. But ongoing research pointed to Red No. 2 as being harmful to consume. But there were already too many other red flavors made with other red dyes. Companies like Otter pops, those long skinny freezer pops, already had several red colored flavors options—cherry, strawberry, watermelon, cinnamon, cranberry, and red apple. So, companies began pushing the blue raspberry concept. A company called Gold Medal seems to have pioneered the flavor in the late 1950s with their blue raspberry candy floss (aka cotton candy, which you can still purchase today) and the blue raspberry ICEE made its debut around 1971. By 1976, Red No. 2 was officially banned as an additive, and any raspberry officially became a blue flavor.
Are blue raspberries real?
Bright blue raspberries do not exist in nature—but some are almost blue. The Rubus leucodermis or Whitebark raspberry is not the color of a blue snow cone, but it does have a deep purple to slightly indigo color. This makes it the closest thing in nature to the artificial blue raspberry color/flavor. But does it taste like its bright blue brethren? Did it inspire the blue raspberry flavor makers? It’s complicated. There aren’t a ton of records available from the decision making back when raspberry treats were switching from a red that’ll make you dead to a delicious blue, but it’s probably not likely that the real purplish raspberry inspired the blue flavor.
What flavor is blue raspberry?
If blue raspberry isn’t based on the purplish Whitebark raspberry, what flavor is it? Is it just plain raspberry? I’ve had a lot of raspberries in my life, way too many to count. (Don’t ask. I accidentally joined a raspberry cult when I was younger.) But real raspberries don’t taste exactly like blue raspberries. What flavor is in there, what is blue raspberry made of? According to Bon Appetit, executive director of the Flavor & Extract Manufacturers Association of the United States, Jerry Bowman, says the flavor profile of raspberry was actually developed using “mostly esters of the banana, cherry, and pineapple variety.” So, there’s your blue raspberry flavor right there. Whatever flavor combo it is, it works. It’s going to leave my tongue blue all summer, so get your Avatar or Smurf jokes ready.