The Midori Sour is an emblem of 1970s excess. Its chief ingredient was launched in the U.S. in 1978 by Suntory, the Japanese company best known for coveted whiskeys and beers. Midori debuted stateside at Studio 54, the notorious New York nightclub, which was a fitting venue for the bright and showy liqueur.
After enjoying much success during the sweet cocktail heyday of the 1980s and ’90s, Midori fell out of favor amid the ensuing craft cocktail renaissance. But recently, it has found renewed life, as bartenders discover new uses for the liqueur’s unique flavor and color. Given its almost singular profile, Midori has few substitutes. So when an occasion calls for a bright green drink or a customer demands a melon-flavored cocktail, Midori is ready to heed the call.
Midori’s flavor is derived from Japanese muskmelons and the cantaloupe-like yubari fruit, which are both infused into neutral grain spirits. Before bottling, the melon spirit is blended with brandy and sugar and dosed with food coloring to achieve its characteristic bright-green color.
Midori can be used in countless drinks, but it’s the Midori Sour that made the liqueur a household name. However, the original recipe is more punchline than classic. Most versions disguise Midori’s melon flavor with corn-syrup-rich sour mix, similar to how a Margarita can be degraded with fake sour mix or allowed to shine with fresh juice. This recipe, mixed with fresh-squeezed lemon and lime juices and topped with soda water, brings the drink into the 21st century.
Watch Now: How to Make a Delicious Midori Sour
- 1 ounce Midori
- 1 ounce vodka
- 1/2 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/2 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
- Soda water, to top
- Garnish: lemon wheel
Add the Midori, vodka and lemon and lime juices to a Collins glass with ice.
Stir to combine, then top with the soda water.
Garnish with a lemon wheel.