The Kamikaze was designed to cut to the chase. Invented on an American naval base in Japan after World War II and made popular during the great reign of vodka of the 1970s and 1980s, the Kamikaze isn’t the kind of cocktail bartenders contemplate in hushed, reverent tones. It’s the kind of cocktail they shake for fun-loving patrons. Except, it’s not really a cocktail at all.
The combination of vodka, lime juice and orange liqueur is served ice-cold as a shot and consumed, more often than not, in less time than it takes to assemble. Which is not to suggest you should approach the task haphazardly. The key to mixing a great shooter is to strip out the loose ends and focus on its bold and bracing qualities. The drink’s journey, after all, is a fast one.
While the Kamikaze holds guilty pleasure status among many drinkers and bartenders, using good ingredients pushes the drink into respected territory. This recipe calls for a full two ounces of vodka mixed with orange liqueur and fresh lime juice. The latter is in contrast to many recipes calling for sour mix or Rose’s lime cordial, neither of which delivers the same tangy, citrus bite that gives the Kamikaze its backbone. Fans of the Lemon Drop or even the Cosmopolitan, which was created as a cranberry-spiked riff on the Kamikaze, should enjoy this one.
Be sure to shake thoroughly with ice for at least 10 seconds and double-strain the liquid to remove any ice shards. In the end, you’ll have enough for two shots—because taking shots should always be a team sport.
Click Play to See This Kamikaze Recipe Come Together
2 ounces vodka
3/4 ounce orange liqueur
3/4 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
Add the vodka, orange liqueur and lime juice to a shaker with ice, and shake thoroughly until well-chilled.
Strain into two shot glasses.