Midori is the bright green liquor bottle that shines behind bars across the world. Its beauty extends inside to the sweet melon liqueur which bartenders use to create amazing green cocktails. In just a few decades, Midori has captivated drinkers and bartenders alike and it has transformed the cocktail scene.
Midori is a versatile liqueur and it is considered an essential liqueur for any well-stocked bar.
Though it does have competition, it remains one of the best-known liqueurs and the premium liqueur of choice for almost any drink recipe that calls for a melon liqueur.
Fun Fact:The word midori means green in Japanese.
What is Midori?
Midori is the brand name for a specific liqueur that is distinct in two aspects: color and flavor.
- The color is a beautiful vivid green and it is often used in cocktails for that characteristic.
- The flavor is a luscious, sweet melon that pairs well with a variety of other flavors.
Midori was launched in the U.S. in 1978 by the Japanese whiskey and beer maker, Suntory. Quite a bit has changed since that first release party at New York City's famous Studio 54 nightclub and Midori has certainly found its place in the world.
The Taste of Midori
The flavor of Midori is that of a very sweet melon.
I would not peg it to a specific type of melon, but more of a mix. This is only right because Midori is made from two types of melon.
Yubari King Melon - Often touted as the most expensive fruit, yubari melons are a cross between two cantaloupes and are grown near Yubari City in Japan. It has a juicy sweetness and orange flesh.
- Musk Melon - The musk melons used to make Midori are grown in the Aichi and Shizuoka provinces of Japan. Another high-quality melon, this is a juicy fruit with an amazing sweetness. It has a green flesh which inspired the green color of Midori.
Fun Fact: Japan is noted as having the best melon growers in the world. The fruit is also among the most expensive with some auction reports stating that a pair of melons sold for over $20,000. The average yubari can run $50-100 in Japan.
Midori Cocktail Recipes
As you might expect, many of the drinks that use Midori are green. It is one of the liqueur's features and Midori is the perfect place to begin if you need to serve green cocktails at an event.
Most popular among the Midori cocktails are those that feature the melon liqueur as the base spirit. Consider these cocktails essential and, if you're new to Midori, a great place to begin.
Midori is very easy to mix with other fruits and the majority of Midori cocktails use this fruit-on-fruit pairing.
Some of these drinks get very sweet but the majority are delicately balanced and refreshing.
- Berry Bliss - vanilla and raspberry vodkas, pineapple juice, soda
- Halloween Harvest Punch - rum, apple, cranberry and lemon juices, simple syrup
- Melon Ball Drop - citrus vodka, elderflower liqueur, lemon juice
- Melon Splash - bourbon, lemon-lime soda
- Sour Patch Margarita - tequila, triple sec, sour mix, orange juice
- Spider's Kiss - vodka, lemon juice, grenadine, chocolate syrup
- Vampire's Kiss - orange vodka, pineapple juice, cream, grenadine
Many bartenders are moving beyond that super fruity cocktail and mixing Midori with contrasting flavors. It's surprising how well some of these combinations work, but they do and they're certainly worth tasting if you're up for a bit of an adventure.
- Green Ghoul - Strega or Chartreuse, ginger liqueur, ginger beer or ale
- Holiday Hopper - mint and chocolate liqueurs, half and half
Midori Shooter Recipes
Midori's green color makes it a tempting liqueur for mixing up party shots as well. If a shooter includes Midori, it's likely to be one that tastes good and sometimes they can be just a little too good.
- Irish Frog - Irish cream
- Kool-Aid - vodka, amaretto, cranberry
- Shamrocked - Irish whiskey, Irish cream
- Wolf Bite - absinthe, pineapple juice, grenadine, lemon-lime soda
How is Midori Made?
Midori was originally produced exclusively in Japan. As of 2016, the making of the famous green liqueur has become a global affair.
- Midori begins with a neutral grain spirit base that is infused with Japanese yubari and musk melon in Japan.
- This base spirit is shipped to Mexico and France for finishing.
- Before bottling, the melon spirit is blended with brandy and sugar, then food coloring is added to give it that signature green color.
Production of Midori began in Mexico in 1987 and this is where the majority of the world's Midori is produced today. In 2003, Suntory began production in France to cover the European market.
Midori is available in over 50 countries throughout the world.
Who Owns Midori?
In 2014, Suntory bought Beam Inc. and the merged company created Beam Suntory, the third-largest distilled spirit company. This means that popular American whiskies like Maker's Mark and Jim Beam are owned by the same company as Midori, as well as Suntory whiskies.
I will end with the caveat that the liquor industry has seen many shake-ups over the last two decades. Brands are being bought and sold and the liquor giants have merged many times to create just a few companies that own most of the liquor we drink.
With that... as of 2016 Midori Liqueur is owned by Beam Suntory, Inc.