At DelightedCooking, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
Midori is a liqueur made with melons. It is occasionally drunk on its own or with ice, but is most commonly used in fruity mix drinks, such as a Midori Illusion. The word midori in Japanese simply means 'green' and is an ideal description of this liqueur – which has a rich green color, reminiscent of green absinthe.
Midori is produced by a Japanese company, Suntory, which also produces a number of other alcoholic beverages and soft drinks. In America, Suntory is perhaps best known as the company that produces the whiskey Bill Murray is filming a commercial for in the Sophia Coppola film Lost in Translation – a film whose premise was loosely based on Coppola's father’s own experience filming a commercial for Suntory in the late 1970s. Suntory unveiled its first melon-flavored alcohol in 1971, called Hermes’ Melon, but this liqueur never really achieved any sort of popularity outside of Japan. In 1978, however, Suntory tried again by releasing their Midori Melon Liqueur, and that time everything went right.
The launch party, held at Studio 54 in New York City at the height of its popularity, helped to push Midori into the mainstream. Other well-aimed product placement also helped to make Midori a hip new drink among the burgeoning crowd of club-goers – the final shot of the film Saturday Night Fever for example, is of a Midori billboard. The same year, a signature cocktail using Midori, called the Universe, won first place in the US Bartenders’ Guild’s Annual Competition.
Midori comes in only one size, an attractively designed 70cl bottle made of textured glass that showcases the bright green color of the liqueur. The bottle is roughly square, tapering up to the top. The Midori label is very understated, with a small brand logo on the front near the mouth of the bottle.
As a liqueur, Midori is fairly alcoholic at 40 proof (20%). It is somewhat syrupy and has a gravity of 1.0513, making it somewhere in the central range for layered drinks – roughly the same gravity as Irish Cream or cherry brandy. The taste at first is quite subtle, but as one’s palette becomes accustomed to the drink, the flavors come out much more strongly.
The overriding flavor is, of course, that of melon. Unlike some liqueurs, which keep their flavors very mild, Midori is most definitely a melon drink. The taste is most like a honeydew or other similar melon, with a strong sweetness that can best be offset by tonic water or something similar. Many drinks are made using Midori, and in addition to signature cocktails like The Universe and The Illusion, classic drinks such as the martini or margarita may be made substituting Midori for one of the ingredients.