The Midori Sour is very much reminiscent of the 70s: peace, love, disco, and bright colors. This sweet and sour cocktail is actually a neon acid green, making it immediately identifiable. It’s been a staple in the nightclub scene for decades and was very popular in the 70s and 80s after its creation. Though it might not be the most popular cocktail ever invented, it offers a balanced, fresh citrus and melon flavor that’s undeniably delicious and refreshing.
Brief History of the Midori Sour
In 1964, Midori was known as Hermes Melon Liqueur, which was released by the Japanese company Suntory. However, it was rebranded “Midori” for its subsequent introduction in the United States. In fact, Midori debuted in the U.S. at the infamous New York nightclub Studio 54, which was hosting the stars of Saturday Night Fever the night this melon liqueur was first introduced.
Midori was a popular choice for bargoers in the 80s and 90s but has slowly but inevitably fallen by the wayside. However, it offers a unique sweet and sour melon flavor not unlike honeydew and has recently started to increase in popularity. The most popular recipe using this melon liqueur is by far the Midori Sour.
Neon Green Melon Liqueur
More and more bartenders are starting to use this melon liqueur in different recipes, taking advantage of its delightfully sweet, honeydew-like flavor. This liquor is the perfect choice when you’re craving something neon green and full of bright, citrus flavor—when that happens, reach for the Midori!
Its extraordinary flavor comes from Japanese muskmelons and yubari fruit, the latter of which is very similar to cantaloupe. Both of these melons are infused into neutral grain spirits, imparting their essence and delicious, fresh flavor. The melon liqueur is then combined with brandy, sugar, and food coloring before its bottled, giving it that distinctive acid green color and exceptional taste.
Swap Sour Mix for Fresh Juice
When it comes to making this refreshing cocktail, the original recipe finds itself a little lacking. Traditionally, it calls for sour mix, which is mostly corn syrup. The sour mix completely overwhelms the delicate melon flavor of Midori, which is why modern versions of this recipe only use fresh-squeezed citrus juice.
Think about how a margarita can be cheapened with sour mix or upgraded with fresh juice—it’s the same principle. This recipe uses fresh-squeezed lemon and lime juice and a splash of bubbly soda water, which brings this drink back into the 21st century and away from the outdated ultra-sugary cocktail recipes from the 70s and 80s.
- 1 oz Midori
- 1 oz vodka (unflavored)
- 1/2 oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 oz fresh-squeezed lime juice
- Splash of soda water, to top
- Garnish with a lemon or lime wheel
- Fill a Collins glass with ice
- Combine the vodka, Midori, and fresh lemon and lime juice
- Stir gently to combine
- Top with soda water
- Garnish with a lemon or lime wheel
- Serve immediately, sip, and enjoy
You can try a few different variations with this recipe that are all equally delicious. Here are some modern takes to check out next time you have a craving for a sweet and sour melon-flavored cocktail!
- Swap the soda water for Sprite or 7-Up
- Add 1/2 oz of fresh-squeezed orange juice
- Use sour mix instead of lemon and lime juice
- Only use lemon juice instead of lime, or vice versa
- Garnish with a cherry instead of citrus fruit
When it comes to brightly colored cocktails, this one takes the cake. Its striking green color comes from Midori melon liqueur, and it also boasts vodka, accented with freshly squeezed lemon and lime juice to balance out the sweetness. So next time you’re at the bar, try some Midori for a unique, melon-flavored liqueur that’s as delicious as it is refreshing.