The Japanese have a way of making even the most mundane words sound alive. The perfect example of this is Midori – which literally translates as ‘green’. However, this term has become so much more than just a colour, and is now synonymous with the unusual green liquid found in cocktail bars with an equally curious taste.
The History of Midori
Midori is a sweet muskmelon-flavoured liquor, with a distinctive green colour. It started as Hermes Melon Liqueur in 1964 produced by Japanese distiller Suntroy. After winning the IBA Cocktail Championship in Tokyo in the early seventies, it started to gain interest and popularity.
However, it wasn’t until 1978, when the drink launched at hip hangout ‘Studio 54’ in New York that it went mainstream. As the first fruity liqueur to enter the US market, it became as fashionable as the clubs it was served in, winning numerous awards for its unique character. It has since remained a bar staple in bars and clubs around the world.
Why is it so popular?
Midori has stood the test of time for one very good reason – it’s versatility. At 21% volume, it has a pleasant taste without a brutal kick, and its distinctive green colour brightens up any drink.
Its light, subtle flavour means that it can be enjoyed as a shooter, or as part of a cocktail, making it versatile and internationally renowned. It balances the sweetness of drinks, making it popular with bartenders everywhere.
Although there are some rivals on the scene (Monin and Iseo Green), it still remains the leading melon liquor in its category.
Thanks to its versatility, Midori can be used in a wide variety of drinks, some of our favourite concoctions include:
Melon Maple Fizz
Great for livening up a party, this unusual combination does exactly what it says on the menu, thanks to the addition of raw egg.
Muddle six scoops of melon (or melon balls) with one part Midori and add 1 part gin, ½ part maple syrup and 1/3 part lemon. Now for the fizz, add the white of one egg. Shake the ingredients for a minute and pour straight into a glass, leaving a quarter to top up with club soda. This frothy, fruity mix should be garnished with a melon slice for the final touch.
Midori Midtown Muse
Melon and whisky might sound like an unexpected combination, but somehow it works beautifully. Start with 1 ½ parts scotch malt whisky, ¾ part Midori and a ¼ part vanilla liqueur and add three dashes of bitters. Fill the glass with ice and stir ingredients around to release the flavours. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a slice of burnt orange peel to bring it all together. The fruity ingredients of Midori really bring out the fruity notes in the whisky, making this a surprising crowd-pleaser.
The Honeydew Martini
A refreshing and sweet upgrade on the traditional martini, this simple drink makes a great after-dinner cocktail to impress guests.
Filling a cocktail shaker half way with ice, pour in three parts of vodka to ½ part Midori and ½ part triple sec. Shake with vigour before straining into a Martini glass. To impress guests, pre-freeze some mini melon balls and add them to a cocktail stick for the perfect mouth-watering garnish as the final touch.