Midori Sour

5 from 2 votes

Party like it’s another decade with a bright green Midori Sour in hand. This colorful, old-school cocktail is fun for reminiscing, dancing like it’s the 80s or even celebrating holidays like Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day.

A green cocktail with ice cubes in a glass garnished with a lemon slice on a skewer. Another similar drink is partially visible in the background. A brass jigger is placed next to the glass.

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About this Midori Sour recipe

The Midori Sour is an iconic cocktail. Not iconic like the martini or the old-fashioned. This drink is bright neon green and definitely doesn’t look like something a grown-up would drink. No, iconic like nostalgia. It’s the epitome of stories from your favorite college bar or nightclub. And many bartenders love to hate it.

It’s also iconic because it is one of the drinks that introduced the world to the Japanese liqueur, Midori. It is made from two types of melons and has a bright and fruity flavor.

And you can’t miss it iconic electric green color, either. When you mix it with lime juice or lemon juice, the color gets even more bright, even more chartreuse. (Not to be confused with Chartreuse — another liqueur altogether!)

So how do you make this icon of a libation? Let’s get right to it!

More watermelon cocktail recipes: Watermelon MargaritaTequila MockingbirdWatermelon Sangria • Watermelon Mimosa

Two green cocktails with ice and lemon slices on top, served in short glasses on hexagonal coasters. A green sparkling bottle and a metallic jigger are in the background.

Why you’ll love this recipe

You’ll love this Midori Sour recipe, for a few reasons:

  • Bright green and full of nostalgia, it’s just like the one you loved in clubs, dives and bars.
  • If you have Midori in your bar cart, this is a great drink to use it in.
  • It works for a summer sipper or you can serve this green juice for a Halloween party.

What is Midori?

Midori is a Japanese melon-flavored liqueur made by Suntory. The liqueur was first introduced in 1964 as “Hermes Melon Liqueur,” but in 1978 changed the name to its present-day moniker.

Bright green in color, it’s sold in a matching green bottle with a bumpy melon-like skin. It’s used in cocktails like the Midori Sour, Midori Fizz or Scooby Snack shots.

The melon flavor and aroma in Midori is quite strong, but not cloying. It’s made with Yubari King and muskmelon, similar to cantaloupes. These are rare, expensive melons that can go for $300 per melon or more!

A green cocktail garnished with a lemon wedge on a toothpick is served in a glass with ice cubes. Another similar drink and a gold jigger are partially visible in the background.

History

Midori first came on the scene as “Hermes Melon Liqueur” in 1964, but didn’t make its way to the United States until 1978. It made its debut at a party at Studio 54 to celebrate the release of Saturday Night Fever.

In 1978, Bobby Batugo won the U.S. Bartenders’ Guild competition with the Universe cocktail, a drink with vodka, Midori, pineapple juice, lime and pistachio liqueur. After that, Midori took off.

Tasting Table reports that Midori’s first popular cocktails were the Universe and the Melon Baller, a drink of Midori, vodka and orange juice. The Midori Sour didn’t come on the scene until the 1980s.

The 1980s were a popular time for sour mix, a sweet mixer that was ubiquitous in 80s drinks but less so today. Mixing the sweet lemon-lime mixture with melon liqueur created a simple fruity cocktail with a very, very tiny nod to the classic whiskey sour.

The Midori version sometimes gets a splash of soda for bubbles, and it was often garnished with a lemon or lime wedge and a maraschino cherry. Today, craft cocktail bars are finding new ways to serve this drink, including with homemade melon liqueur or egg whites for a frothy top.

A green cocktail with ice, garnished with a slice of lemon, shown from above. A measuring jigger and another green drink are nearby.

Tools & glassware

For this recipe you will need a cocktail shaker, strainer and jigger. These are all part of a basic bartending set, so if you have one of those you’re good to go.

If you don’t, you can measure the ingredients in tablespoons: 1 ounce is equal to 2 tablespoons. (And ¼ ounce is equal to ½ tablespoon.)

The Midori Sour can be served in all kinds of glassware, but usually on the rocks. Here, I used a rocks glass. A stemless wine glass or a highball glass would work, too.

Hand holding a cocktail skewer garnished with a lemon slice over a glass of green beverage with ice cubes on a white marble surface.

Ingredients

You can shop for Midori sour ingredients at your local grocery store and/or liquor store. Here’s what’s in it:

  • Midori melon liqueur: Find this one in the Liqueur section of your liquor store. It’s in an emerald-green bottle with a bumpy texture.
  • vodka: Any quality vodka will do here. Don’t go for the cheapest. We like Tito’s at our house.
  • lemon juice: Fresh citrus juice really lets the Midori Sour grow up, as the ones from cheap bars use sour mix.
  • lime juice: Ditto for the lime juice. Fresh juice really takes things up a notch here.
  • blue curaçao: Just a drop! It makes the drink even greener. Totally optional though.
  • club soda: This adds a few bubbles to the drink, but you can skip this if you like.

Garnishes

The Midori Sours of the 80s often featured a lemon wedge or lime wedge and a bright red maraschino cherry to match the neon green of the cocktail.

Since this is a grown-up version, you can stick to a pretty slice of lime or lemon here. If you want to add a cherry, go for a more sophisticated cocktail cherry. You can make your own or use my favorite, Luxardo Cherries.

Instructions

Ready to make a better-than-you-remember Midori sour? Here’s what to do:

A hand pouring bright green liquid from a small cup into an empty, clear textured glass on a white surface.
A hand is pouring clear liquid from a small metal cup into a clear glass containing a green liquid, set against a white marbled background.

First fill a cocktail shaker with ice, and add the Midori and vodka.

A hand pours a creamy white liquid from a small container into a textured glass filled with a bright green liquid.
A hand pouring condensed milk from a metal measuring cup into a glass filled with green liquid.

Next add the lime juice and lemon juice. Remember, fresh juice is always worth the effort!

A hand pours a blue liquid from a small metal cup into a larger glass containing a bright green liquid.
A hand holding the golden lid of a clear textured cocktail shaker filled with green liquid.

If you want a darker green hue, you can add a tiny bit of blue curaçao. It tastes like oranges, so it won’t change the flavor, just the color.

Hand holding a gold-lidded cocktail shaker with green liquid inside.
A hand pouring a bright green liquid from a gold cocktail shaker into a glass with ice on a white marble surface.

Shake vigorously, then strain into a rocks glass filled with ice.

A hand pouring a beverage from a can into a glass containing green liquid and ice cubes, with another similar glass partially visible in the background.
Hand holding a cocktail skewer garnished with a lemon slice over a glass of green beverage with ice cubes on a white marble surface.

Top it up with a splash of soda. Garnish with a citrus slice. You can also add a cocktail cherry if you like.

Tips & tricks

To make this drink like a pro bartender:

  • Use fresh citrus juice if you can!
  • Add a tiny amount of blue curaçao to the mixture to get a less sickly green color.
  • Don’t add the club soda to the cocktail shaker. Add it on top of the drink.

Food pairings

The Midori Sour is great with all your favorite dive bar foods, like pizza and chicken wings. Or even totchos.

You could also serve this grown-up version for a summer dinner party or cookout along with fresh melon or dishes like watermelon salad and mozzarella melon salad.

A green cocktail served in a glass with ice cubes and garnished with a lemon slice on a metal pick, placed on a hexagonal coaster.

FAQ

What is in a Midori Sour?

The Midori Sour is a melon-flavored cocktail featuring the Japanese melon liqueur, Midori, as well as vodka, lemon juice and lime juice. Some bartenders add a splash of club soda for bubbles, and sometimes sour mix is used in place of the citrus juices. The drink is usually garnished with a lemon or lime wedge and a cherry.

What is Midori?

Midori is a Japanese liqueur with a melon flavor. Bright green, it is flavored with two kinds of melon, muskmelon and Yubari King melon, which are both expensive, rare melons from Japan.

More old school cocktails

— Did you make this recipe? —

Please leave a ★★★★★ review or comment below.

A green cocktail with ice cubes in a glass garnished with a lemon slice on a skewer. Another similar drink is partially visible in the background. A brass jigger is placed next to the glass.

Midori Sour

Yield: 1 drink
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Sip into the sweet and tangy bliss of a vibrant Midori Sour! A mixture of Midori melon liqueur, lemon or lime juice with a splash of soda. Perfect drink that offers sweet and tangy flavor.
5 from 2 votes
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ingredients

  • ounce Midori melon liqueur
  • 1 ounce vodka
  • ½ ounce lemon juice fresh
  • ½ ounce lime juice fresh
  • 1 drop blue curaçao optional
  • ½ ounce club soda
  • 1 lemon slice or lime slice, for garnish

instructions

  • First fill a cocktail shaker with ice, and add the Midori and vodka.
  • Next add the lime juice and lemon juice. Remember, fresh juice is always worth the effort!
  • If you want a darker green hue, you can add a tiny bit of blue curaçao. It tastes like oranges, so it won’t change the flavor, just the color.
  • Shake vigorously, then strain into a rocks glass filled with ice.
  • Top it up with a splash of soda. Garnish with a citrus slice. You can also add a cocktail cherry if you like.

notes

For best results, use fresh citrus juice. You can substitute sour mix, but you may want to use ¾ ounces (instead of 1 ounce) as it is very sweet.
Blue curaçao is totally optional. Some bartenders add it to give it a deeper green color. 

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nutrition information

Yield: 1 drink

amount per serving:

Serving: 4ounces Calories: 220kcal Carbohydrates: 28g Protein: 2g Fat: 0.4g Saturated Fat: 0.1g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g Sodium: 6mg Potassium: 181mg Fiber: 3g Sugar: 19g Vitamin A: 32IU Vitamin C: 67mg Calcium: 32mg Iron: 1mg
did you make this recipe?Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #feastandwestrecipes!

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