The Tokyo Tea is a twist on the famous (some would say notorious) Long Island Iced Tea. The Tokyo version isn’t named for where it was invented; rather, the drink is distinguished from its American cousin by its signature green color, which is delivered courtesy of melon liqueur.
The world’s most popular melon liqueur is Midori, which hails from Japan and is made from neutral grain spirits, Japanese muskmelons and the cantaloupe-like yubari fruit. At only a half ounce, and combined in equal portions with the other ingredients, the melon liqueur’s flavor and color still manage to shine through and play a starring role in this cocktail. The drink also receives a topper of club soda, rather than the LIIT’s customary cola.
The Tokyo Tea recipe calls for sweet-and-sour mix. This is easy to find on store shelves, but if you’re up for an additional step, you can quickly make your own by adding fresh lime juice to simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water). This way, you know exactly what’s going into your drink. The same cannot be said for bottled mixers, which are typically loaded with fake sugar and additives.
Of course, no one orders the six-spirit Tokyo Tea for health reasons. Or for the nuance. Or even for accuracy (there’s no tea in the glass). And still, somehow, this mishmash of disparate ingredients just kind of works. It’s sweet, boozy and dangerously quaffable—somehow, all that liquor seems to mask the liquor flavor—making it the ultimate party drink, whether you’re barhopping in Ginza or entertaining friends at home.
- 1/2 ounce tequila
- 1/2 ounce rum
- 1/2 ounce gin
- 1/2 ounce vodka
- 1/2 ounce triple sec
- 1/2 ounce melon liqueur
- 1 ounce sweet-and-sour mix*
- 1 splash club soda
- Garnish: lemon wheel
- Garnish: maraschino cherry
Add all ingredients except club soda into a highball glass with ice and stir to combine.
Top with the club soda.
Garnish with a lemon wheel and maraschino cherry.
*Sweet-and-sour mix: Mix 1 part sugar with 1 part water. Add fresh lime juice to taste.