When you are considering what cocktails to serve at a party, there are two considerations – taste and colour. When it comes to Midori cocktails, they instantly win on the colour section because this is the most eye-catching green coloured spirit on the market. And the taste is definitely a winner too. But what are the best cocktails for Midori?
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Introducing Midori liqueur
If you haven’t met Midori before, let me make a quick introduction. Midori is a brilliantly green coloured liqueur with a sweet melon flavour. The name even means ‘green’ in Japanese and was made exclusively in Japan until 1987 – it is now popular enough to be made in the US, Mexico and France as well as in Japan.
The company behind the drink is called Suntory. Back in 1971, at the International Bartenders Association’s International Cocktail Championships in Tokyo, the company first introduced their green liqueur. Seven years later, the drink was ready to go and it made its debut at the Studio 42 Saturday Night Fever party in a drink known as the Japanese Gin and Tonic. It was also the key ingredient in a cocktail called ‘The Universe’ that won first prize at the annual US Bartenders’ Guild in the same year.
What makes the drink stand out from other melon liqueurs on the market is the fruit used in its creation. Many people don’t know but Japan is famous for having the best melons in the world and also some of the most expensive – yubari king melons that are used in the drink can sell for $50-100 on average while the most expensive melon ever sold went for a tasty $20,000.
Yubari king melons are a cross between two cantaloupes and come from the Yubari City area. They have orange coloured flesh and are very sweet. Also in the spirit is the musk melon, grown in Aichi and Shizoka provinces and known for its sweetness. It also has the green coloured flesh that inspired the colour of the drink.
Drinks with Midori
Because Midori is a sweet liqueur, it isn’t often drank straight or with just a plain mixer like lemonade or tonic water. However, the taste does mean that you can use it in a huge number of cocktails and all of them come with fantastic colours due to that green shade.
The Midori Sour is a great balance of the sweetness of the melon liqueur with sour mix. If you haven’t encountered sour mix before, all you need is a cup of sugar and the same of water, a cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice and half a cup of lime juice. Bring the sugar and water to the boil to make a sugar syrup them leave to cool. Strain the juices to remove any pulp and add to the cooled syrup. You can use it immediately or refrigerate it.
To make the Midori Sour, you need:
- 5 oz. Midori
- 2 oz. sour mix
- 5 oz. fresh lime juice
- 1 dash of lemon-lime soda (like 7UP or Sprite)
All everything apart from the soda to a rocks glass and add ice. Top with the soda and garnish with a maraschino cherry. Very tasty and very green!
The Margarita is one of the classics of the cocktail world but can also be adapted to make a tasty, green drink with Midori. This is definitely a sharp one so not a favourite if you don’t like a tart drink.
Wet the edge of a margarita glass with lime juice and roll it in the salt. Put the ingredients into a cocktail shaker then add to the glass over crushed ice. Alternatively, you can make a smooth ‘granita’ type drink by adding the ingredients and the ice to a blender and crushing it together before adding to the margarita glass.
This is a Midori version of the Pina Colada tropical cocktail that is a beach classic. The green colour will be a little diluted by the pineapple juice but still colourful.
- 5 oz. white rum (such as Bacardi)
- 1 oz. Midori
- 1 oz. crème de coconut
- 3 oz. pineapple juice
- 1 cup crushed ice
Put all the ingredients including the ice into a blender and hit high speed. Once everything is mixed, add to a Collins glass and garnish with a pineapple slice and a maraschino cherry for that tropic finish.
There are a few different ideas for the ingredients in the Midori Martini that allows you to choose your favourite base spirit. Either way the result is a brilliant green version of the martini.
- 5 oz. Midori
- 3 oz. gin (or vodka if you prefer)
- 1 dash dry vermouth (Martini)
Add the ingredients to a martini glass with ice and stir then add a maraschino cherry to garnish or a lemon twist if you prefer.
As well as cocktails that have been reinterpreted to include Midori, there are also a number of cocktails that were created specifically for the melon liqueur.
The Japanese Slipper is one of the first cocktails that was made for Midori, first mentioned in the late 1980s as the spirit began to be popular around the world. It is a simple cocktail that combines 1 part (or 3cl) Midori with the same amount of Cointreau and lemon juice. It is shaken in a mixer and strained into a cocktail glass then garnished with a slice of honeydew melon.
The Time Warp is a tropical flavoured cocktail that uses 30ml Midori, 30ml Malibu (coconut rum) and 30ml pineapple juice along with 10ml blue curacao and 5ml raspberry cordial. The first three ingredients are mixed in a shaker with ice then strained into a cocktail glass. The curacao is then added and sinks to the bottom then finally the cordial. It can be served with a maraschino cherry.
What’s your favourite?
These are just a few of the Midori cocktails you can make when armed with a bottle of the green stuff and a few other ingredients. If you have a favourite Midori cocktail, I’d love to hear about it!