Review – Midori Melon Liqueur
From the makers of fine Japanese whiskey including Hibiki and Yamazaki also comes the luminous green Midori. A favourite among the layered shooter crowd, its website proclaims it “creates a feeling of freedom and fun for stylish young people enjoying good times with friends” and, “Midori is where you and excitement meet”. Lofty aspirations indeed. Produced using mainly Japanese Yubari melons (similar to Canteloupe) and “other fragrant ingredients”.
Nose: Nose-tinglingly sweet, which causes the fragrant fruity aromas to appear processed and sickly. More pear drops than fresh melon, with hints of crisp apple the only diversion from sugary intensity.
Neat: Sweet, but not sickly so initially, although this builds on the palate and disappointingly doesn’t carry with it a sufficiently intense flavour as it does so, resulting in a disappointingly limp taste. As with the nose, melon is not the most discernible flavour here, foam bananas yes, melon not so much. The saving grace is that the sweetness holds short of becoming cloying, allowing a fragrant juiciness to to become notable on the finish.
Mixing: Midori has somewhat of a reputation for being ‘the green one’ in a host of dodgy 80’s and 90’s cocktails. Although it can’t be held responsible for these often overly sweet and fruity concoctions, its performance in otherwise reasonable drinks is a let down. Whilst many Midori cocktails are inevitably long fruit-driven numbers, the short Margarita twist Japanese Slipper is on paper at least something that should appeal to those seeking a more spirit-forward drink. Despite being one of only three ingredients however, the Midori fails to stand up to the Tequila and lime, resulting in a cocktail which aside from the luminous colour, is not easily identifiable as containing Midori. Similar results are observed with numerous other drinks. The Pineapple juice in the dodgily-named Gulf Coast Sex on the Beach ensures that Midori isn’t at all discernible, and together with the cranberry juice also means you don’t even get the famous green colour. Things are a little better with the Mae West Martini, particularly as Midori’s nemesis the citrus fruit is not present. Unfortunately, it too fails to showcase any significant contribution from this liqueur, with the vodka, Amaretto and cranberry juice all taking the limelight instead. When a layered shot called AWOL (Midori, Pineapple juice, Vodka and overproof Rum) scores higher than most cocktails, you know you don’t have a runaway success of a product on your hands. The signature Midori Sour (recipe below) is however the direction to head if you happen to have a bottle around. Sweet, sour and impressively tangy, this fluorescent cocktail is straightforward to make and could easily become a guilty pleasure. The problem with most Midori cocktails is not so much that the liqueur prevents them from tasting good, but rather that it doesn’t bring enough to the party be able to take any credit should they do so.
Signature Cocktail – Midori Sour
2oz Midori, 0.5oz Lime Juice, 0.5oz Lemon Juice
Shake ingredients with ice and train into a chilled glass.
Midori is a most disappointing liqueur that fails to deliver either neat or in mixed drinks. The absence of the expected clean melon flavours, together with its too-shy performance in cocktails means it is best reserved for the 20th Century’s fascination with layered shots. Rating: ★★
Midori Melon Liqueur is available to buy from Master of Malt.
★: Terrible, only drink for a dare.
★★: Meh, not undrinkable but best left alone.
★★★: Reasonable, middle of the road.
★★★★: Tasty stuff, well worth seeking out.
★★★★★: Incredible, booze doesn’t get better than this. You need a bottle in your life.