Launched by the Suntory Company in 1978, Midori is a sweet green liqueur intensely flavored with the ripe green melon so loved by the Japanese—in fact, Midori is the Japanese word for green. Imagine the taste of a fully-ripe honeydew melon as seen through the eyes of the Jolly Rancher candy company. Add an alcohol content of 20% and some groovy seventies Japanese packaging and you begin to get the picture. According to the Midori web site, the drink actually has a longer history:
“In 1971, when the International Bartenders Association held its International Cocktail Championships in Tokyo, US delegates raved about the melon liqueur they sampled at the Suntory plant. Taking a hint, Suntory spent seven years developing a new melon liqueur for the international market — MIDORI.
In 1978 MIDORI made its US debut at Studio 54, the hottest New York nightclub, with John Travolta in the crowd.
The same year, MIDORI was a key ingredient in The Universe, a cocktail that won first prize at the US Bartender Guild’s annual championship. After this fast start, MIDORI kept winning prizes and fans on every continent.”
Well, who knew? What I do know, though, is that back in the day, we used to drink a lot of this, back when one had a taste for sweet drinks and a tolerance for strong ones. Midori Sours were a favorite but it is great in orange juice, with tonic (yes, really) or just on the rocks. Not as sweet as it sounds, Midori really is very refreshing and unusual. In the heady days leading up to the royal wedding, a drink was invented called the “Lady Diana”—just a shot of Midori in a glass of champagne. Really delicious, this was supposed to be the color of her favorite dress or maybe her favorite emeralds—or maybe her eyes—whatever it was, this is a really lovely drink. There are several wonderful Midori-based cocktails like the Japanese Slipper (with Cointreau and lemon Juice) and the Meloncholy (with scotch and Chartreuse) and Midori versions of classics like the Martini and Cosmopolitan.
A margarita made with MIDORI instead of the usual triple sec or white Curaçao.
1 oz Midori
2 oz Silver Tequila
2 oz Sweet and Sour Mix
Blend ingredients with crushed ice into a sorbet-like texture, and pour into a glass.
Garnish with a slice of lime.