Midori and blanco tequila are two ingredients that don’t often star in stirred drinks, and even less often together. At his Houston bar Refuge, bartender and owner Bobby Heugel combines the bright-green melon liqueur and a high-quality Highlands tequila expression with bittersweet aperitif Suze for a fruit-forward and gently bitter drink. Garnished with a neon-green cherry, it’s a serious cocktail that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Heugel says he was inspired by one of his favorite flavor combinations: agave spirits and melons. Although Midori is often associated with saccharine-sweet Midori Sours, Heugel stresses that the melon liqueur is a quality product that should be respected and used properly. “People forget that Midori is incredibly well-made,” he says. “It just has a rap because of its bright green dyed color, but it’s no different from how Campari is dyed these days.”
For the drink’s blanco tequila base, Heugel opts for El Tesoro, an agave-forward Highlands expression with prominent floral and fruity notes that are reflective of the Jalisco terroir. El Tesora employs several traditional tequila processes that many modern-day distilleries have industrialized, such as the tahona, or stone wheel used to crush agave hearts. While you can swap in another blanco tequila, keep in mind that quality is paramount in a spirit-forward drink like this.
Once you have the ingredients on hand, the Greenhorn is easy to construct. “I wanted to make a drink that people could order for a decade,” Heugel says. “I also like the idea that people can make this cocktail at home and at other bars.”
- 1 1/2 ounces blanco tequila, preferably El Tesoro Blanco
- 1 ounce Midori
- 3/4 ounce Suze
- Garnish: green maraschino cherry
Add the tequila, Midori, and Suze to a mixing glass filled with ice and stir until well-chilled.
Strain into a Nick & Nora glass.
Garnish with a green maraschino cherry.
What Is Midori?
With a name that translates to “green” in Japanese, Midori is a sweet melon-flavored liqueur. Japanese company Suntory launched the product in the U.S. in 1978, and it became particularly popular in the 1980s and ’90s, when drinks like the Midori Sour ruled. Its flavor is derived from Japanese muskmelons and the cantaloupe-like yubari fruit, which are infused into neutral grain spirits. The melon spirit is blended with brandy, sugar, and food coloring before bottling, the last of which helps to give the liqueur its trademark green hue.
What Is Suze?
With a history dating to 1885, Suze is a French aperitif made from the bitter gentian root, which is infused into a neutral grain spirit that is distilled and then blended with other aromatics. The result is gently floral, bitter, and citrusy. Like most aperitifs, Suze can be sipped on its own, ideally chilled, or topped with soda water. It also lends its gently bittersweet profile to cocktails like the White Negroni.
What Is Blanco Tequila?
Also called silver or plata tequila, blanco tequila can be aged for up to two months, but it typically is bottled immediately after distillation. As such, the clear spirit is more agave-forward than aged expressions like reposado and añejo. Its crisp and citrusy profile integrates seamlessly into classic tequila cocktails like the Margarita and Paloma.