If you have a bottle of Midori at home, it’s possible you’re struggling to figure out what to do with it. Flavored with funky indigenous melon varieties including muskmelon and Yubari, it’s generally relegated to the occasional retro round of Midori Sours. But there are plenty of opportunities to utilize the electric green Japanese liqueur in mixed drinks—Brock Schulte, the bar director at The Monarch in Kansas City, Missouri, brings out its potential in his Conflict & Compromise, a spicy and verdant Margarita variation.
For Schulte, two of Midori’s most questionable traits are the very things that make it fun to play with in drinks like the Conflict & Compromise. “[Its] best attributes are its color and ability to play well with others,” he says. “It lends itself to all kinds of infusions and plays well with herbs, spices [and] heat like cayenne.” In this drink he combines it with cilantro and jalapeño for a juicy, spicy libation. The Midori stands in for the usual orange liqueur, lending its fresh melon notes to the earthy tequila and tart lime. It mellows the spice from the jalapeño and sweetens the crisp vegetal notes of Cilantro.
For the tequila, Schulte uses Tequila Ocho plato, a well-regarded blanco tequila. Any decent quality blanco tequila should do the trick—just be sure to use something of good quality. It doesn’t need to be too expensive of a bottle, however, as it will be mixed with peppers, herbs and melon liqueur.
Of course, when making any drink with cilantro in it, you might alienate those who taste cilantro as being “soapy,” which is not an uncommon reaction. There’s no real work-around here—omitting the leaves or substituting them for something like parsley will dramatically alter the drink’s profile. It might still be good, but it won’t quite be the Conflict & Compromise. Instead, consider using the Midori in another cocktail.
- 1 1/2 ounces Tequila Ocho plata
- 3/4 ounce Midori
- 3/4 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/2 ounce agave nectar
- 2 slices jalapeño pepper
- 7 cilantro leaves
- Garnish: cilantro
Add the tequila, Midori, lime juice, agave nectar, jalapeño pepper and cilantro leaves into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.
Double-strain into a rocks glass over crushed ice.
Garnish with a tight bunch of cilantro.