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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?

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 is a Japanese word for ‘green’ 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 its 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.

Melon flavour

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 melon 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.

Midori cocktails
Yubari melons – By Captain76 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Drinks with Midori

Because Midori is a sweet liqueur, it isn’t often drunk 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.

Midori Sour

The Midori Sour is one of the classic cocktails with a great balance of the sweetness of the melon liqueur with a sour mix.  If you haven’t encountered sour mix before, all you need is a cup of sugar and the same water, a cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice, and half a cup of lime juice.  Bring the sugar and water to a boil to make a sugar syrup then 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 the following:

  • 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!

Frozen Midori Sour

To make a Frozen Midori Sour, all you need is to increase the ice content of the drink so that the entire contents become ‘frozen’.  So you would take the Midori, sweet and sour mix, and lime juice and add to a blender with lots of ice.  You might want to leave out the soda as it won’t like being in the blender but could add afterward.  Then serve and the result would be a frozen cocktail! Garnish with a classic maraschino cherry and a slice of lime.

Midori Margarita

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.

You need:

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 it to the margarita glass.

Midori Colada

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.

You need:

  • 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. This is one of the best Midori cocktails if you have a bit of a sweet tooth but still want one of those green drinks without using food coloring.

Midori Martini

There are a few different ideas for the ingredients in the Midori Martini that allow you to choose your favourite base spirit.  Either way, the result is a brilliant green version of the martini.

You need:

  • 5 oz. Midori
  • 3 oz. gin (or vodka if you prefer)
  • 1/4 ounce of simple syrup
  • 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.

Midori Cocktails

As well as great 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 triple sec and lemon juice for a drink with a fresh citrus flavor.  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 fruity flavor cocktail that uses 30ml Midori, 30ml Malibu (coconut rum), and 30ml pineapple juice along with 10ml blue curacao and 5ml raspberry cordial for a bright green drink.  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!

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