This version of a Midori Sour is hands down the best! It's tangy, not overly sweet, and really highlights the bright flavor of the Midori melon liqueur. Plus, it only has three ingredients. If you're looking for the perfect green cocktail, your search ends here!
The melon fruit flavor in this drink makes it perfectly refreshing for summertime. But the green color also means that I love to drink it on St. Patrick's Day! Another delicious green drink is the classic Last Word, which is one of my all time favorites.
Looking for some more cocktails featuring different liqueurs? The Pink Whitney Lemonade Martini is always a crowd pleaser! Or, give the Shrub Cocktail with Pimm's Liqueur a try for more of a warm fall flavor.
About Midori Liqueur
Midori liqueur is a melon-flavored Japanese liqueur, and it has 20% alcohol (40 proof). Its tasty flavor comes mainly from Japanese muskmelons. (Source: Wikipedia article) Fun fact: Japanese muskmelons are actually the most expensive fruit in the world! It's mostly because there is a lot of manual labor that goes into the growing of this particular fruit.
Midori was created in 1964 under the name Hermes Melon Liqueur. After a name change to Midori (the Japanese word for green - 緑), it was introduced to the US in 1978.
The sweet, tart and fruity liqueur was a huge hit at Studio 54 in NYC. Its over-the-top color and unique flavor hit just the right notes for the nightclub scene, and the Midori Sour took off in popularity.
Midori's popularity may have waned from the '70s, but it is still popular today. Its green color and versatile flavor go really well in lots of different mixed drinks!
Anytime a liqueur is the main spirit (and in this case, only spirit) in a drink, things get a little tricky. Liqueurs already have a lot of sugar, so you don't need to add much, if any, syrup. The sugar already in the liqueur needs to be balanced out either with sourness or bitterness for an optimal cocktail.
This particular recipe was developed by John deBary, a New York-based mixologist, and its simplicity is what makes it shine. Here's what you'll need:
- Midori liqueur - this melon-flavored liqueur is iconic for its bright green color. See the previous section (About Midori Liqueur) for more about Midori!
- Lime juice - preferably fresh squeezed.
- Egg white - preferably from a carton, or you can pasteurize eggs at home. The egg white gives this drink a rich mouthfeel, and it improves the flavor by softening out both the sourness and sweetness.
Here are a few ways you can substitute for the ingredients in this drink.
- Midori - this is a tough one to substitute, but the closest match is Bols Melon liqueur. It's also green, and has a honeydew melon flavor.
- Lime juice - although lime juice is the best choice in this drink, you can also use lemon juice instead. I'm here to steer you away from the sweet-and-sour mix, even though it was part of the original Midori Sour recipe. I promise the extra sugar isn't needed at all, and the lime juice is just enough acidity to balance out the Midori's sweetness.
- Egg white - to make this drink plant-based, you can use an ounce of aquafaba instead of an egg white. (Aquafaba is the water from a can of chick peas.) You can also use a cocktail foamer for a different vegetarian option.
Looking for some other options for this cocktail? Try one of these variations:
- Back to the classic - the Studio 54 version of the Midori Sour doesn't have any egg whites or foam on top. It's made with 2 ounces of Midori, 1 ounce of sweet and sour mix (lemon and lime flavored), and 3 ounces of club soda, with a maraschino cherry garnish. Give it a try and see which one you like better!
- Vodka Midori Sour - this 3-ingredient version of the Midori Sour cocktail is actually a low-alcohol (about ¾ of one standard drink). You can make it stronger by adding a half ounce of vodka to the mix, although you may also want to add a bar spoon or so of simple syrup too.
- Midori Sour with Triple Sec - reduce the Midori to 1½ ounce and add in ½ ounce of Triple Sec (Cointreau). This won't affect the alcohol content but gives it a nice orange flavor note. Or, just add in the extra ½ ounce of Triple Sec without reducing the Midori for a slightly stronger drink.
In order to make this drink, you'll need a jigger or measuring cup, a cocktail shaker and strainer (preferably both a regular strainer and a fine mesh strainer), and a serving glass. Here I've used a martini glass, but use what you like! It's served up, so a stemmed glass is preferable.
Although it's optional, I love this milk frother when making foam-topped cocktails instead of doing a dry shake. It just gives me fast, consistent results, and it's inexpensive too (not to mention just a lot of fun!)
If you're looking for new bar equipment, A Bar Above is my go-to for shakers, strainers and jiggers! Their equipment is dishwasher safe and looks great. Don't forget to use my discount code LKDrinks for 10% off your purchase.
Making the Garnish
To make a fancy, long curl out of lime peel, start by washing your lime. Then, use a vegetable peeler to carefully peel the lime in a spiral. Go slow, so that you won't accidentally break the strip.
Once you've created your long strip, use a sharp knife to trim off the ragged edges. You can also use a clean precision knife, like this X-Acto knife, for easier and cleaner cuts.
Last, take your cleaned-up lime strip and wrap it around the handle of a long bar spoon. This will allow it to create a tight curl.
Leave it wrapped around the spoon and set it aside while you build the drink.
Making the Drink
Making the drink will probably take you less time than the garnish! This cocktail has an egg white in it, which means you will need to shake it with ice and then again without ice.
To start out, add your lime juice and egg whites to a cocktail shaker.
Next, add your Midori liqueur into the cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice and give it about 15-20 hard shakes to dilute and chill the drink.
Use a cocktail strainer to strain the ice out and pour the liquid into a tall glass.
Discard the ice and then either reshake your cocktail without ice, or use a milk frother to whip up the mixture until it is foamy.
Pour the foamed-up liquid through a fine mesh strainer and into your serving glass.
Then, use a clip to add on your garnish, or just drape it across the side of the glass. Serve immediately.
Hint: if you have any lime peel left, use it to express some lime oils over top of the cocktail before serving. Just squeeze a lime peel while holding it over the drink, with the dark green side facing the drink. It's a simple touch, but gives the drink a wonderful aroma!
Frequently Asked Questions
Midori is a liqueur, which means it has sugar added and has a lower alcohol content than a spirit, like vodka or whiskey. Midori is 20% alcohol (40 proof), whereas spirits usually hover around 40% alcohol (80 proof).
Midori is melon-flavored, with a lot of sweetness and some tartness too. It's a little bit like a sour melon candy. It is actually flavored like Japanese muskmelon, which is the most expensive fruit in the world! Luckily, Midori liqueur is moderately priced.
There's nothing stopping you from drinking it straight, but be prepared for a sugar bomb! If you're thinking of doing Midori shots, you might want to add some vodka or gin, and a splash of citrus to the mix too.
If you are planning to make a batch of these for a party, you can pre-make your garnishes. Store the garnishes in the fridge in a ziploc bag along with a damp paper towel to keep them fresh. You can also pre-mix the Midori and lime juice in proportion, but I don't recommend adding the egg whites until just before serving.
- Vegetable peeler for garnish
- Knife and cutting board or X-Acto precision knife - dedicated to food use
- Citrus juicer if using fresh citrus
- Decorative clip to attach garnish to glass optional
- fresh lime peel for garnish
- 2 ounces Midori
- 1 ounce lime juice preferably fresh squeezed
- 1 ounce egg whites preferably pasteurized
- Start out by making your lime peel garnish. Use a vegetable peeler to peel a whole lime in a spiral, keeping the peel unbroken the whole way.
- Use a sharp knife to cut off the edges of the lime spiral to make a clean edge.
- Set the garnish aside and add lime juice, egg whites and Midori to a cocktail shaker.
- Add ice to the shaker and shake for 15-20 hard shakes. This will dilute and chill the drink.
- Strain the ice out of the liquid, discard the ice and then do a dry shake (without ice). This will develop the foam from the egg whites. You can shake without ice until the foam is formed, or you can use an electronic milk frother for a few seconds.
- Pour the foamy liquid through a fine mesh strainer and into your serving glass.
- Add the garnish to the glass and serve immediately. You can optionally squeeze a piece of lime peel over top of the glass to get a nice boost of lime aroma.