Hotaling & Co.

Hotaling & Co.

Senior Curaçao Liqueur

Willemstad, Curaçao

The Only Authentic Curaçao Liqueur In The World Made In Curaçao Using The Lahara Orange Peel

The History of the Senior Family

The Senior family's history can be traced back to 15th-century Spain, where several family members were prominent advisors to the royal family. Many were "marranos," Jews who converted to Christianity to escape persecution during the Spanish Inquisition, but secretly continued to practiced Judaism. Some fled to other parts of Europe, while others fled to South America. Several sons of Mordechai Senior, who was born in Amsterdam in 1620, emigrated to Curaçao. Curaçao is located in the southern part of the Caribbean just off the coast of Venezuela, and is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The Emergence of Lahara Oranges

Lahara oranges are unique to Curaçao, sharing a long history with the island. Spanish explorer Alonso de Ojeda, former lieutenant of Christopher Columbus, discovered the island in 1499. Twelve years later, valencia oranges were brought from Spain and planted on Curaçao. The hot climate was unsuitable for the oranges, and the trees were abandoned and forgotten, though over time they evolved and adapted, becoming bitter and extremely rough and bumpy. Today, Senior & Co. sources its lahara oranges from a single plantation on the eastern side of the island. There are only approximately 45 lahara orange trees on the plantation, and they are harvested twice a year. Each tree produces 150 to 200 fruits, which result in 25 to 35 kilograms of dried peels. The oranges are harvested early while still green, because if they get too ripe the peels become thin and unusable for liqueur production. The trees are around 10 feet tall, requiring ladders when workers harvest the fruit by hand. Oranges are picked by removing both the orange and the sprig it is attached to, because if only the fruit is removed, that part of the tree will not produce any more fruit.

The Creation of Authentic Curaçao

Centuries after the Senior family first emigrated to Curaçao, descendent Edgar Senior found a use for lahara oranges in the early 1890s as the key ingredient in authentic curaçao. Senior found his inspiration to work with the fruit after stepping on a laraha orange and smelling the fragrant aromas released. Senior decided a liqueur would be the best way to capture the aromas of the lahara orange, and he founded Senior & Co. in 1896, ordering a copper pot still from Liberty Coppersmithing in Philadelphia to begin commercial operations. That original still continues to be exclusively used today.


The Genuine Curaçao Liqueur

The Genuine Curaçao Liqueur is the only truly authentic curaçao in the world, sourcing its lahara oranges from a single plantation on Curaçao. The oranges are harvested by hand while slightly underripe when the peel is most suitable for liqueur production. Each peel is cut into four pieces using a wooden knife, because a metal knife will stain the peels. The pieces of peel are dried on a metal plate in sunlight for approximately five days. Under no circumstances can the peels get wet, so great care is taken to cover the peels at night. The dried peels are put into cloth "jute bags" with secret spices and herbs, and the jute bags are hung inside the still, which is filled with alcohol dervied from natual cane sugar, and cooked for three days. The kettle is then cooled down and the bags are removed. Water is added, and distillation takes place over three days, resulting in a small batch of 55 gallons, which is the base spirit for the liqueur. The distillate is moved to a blending tank, and water is added in addition to approximately 400 kilograms of sugar per batch. The Genuine Curaçao Liqueur is bottled on-site and available in three traditional colors: blue, orange and clear, and is Kosher certified.

The Genuine Curaçao Liqueur Orange
The Genuine Curaçao Liqueur Orange

Certified Kosher. 31% ABV

  • 93 Points | Wine Enthusiast 2012
  • 92 Points
    “The original Curaçao; deep orange amber color, sweet, rich and complex with candied oranges and bitter orange peel.”
    - Anthony Dias Blue, The Tasting Panel