Midori sours with cherry garnish

The Best Vodka Midori Sour Recipe

Popularized during the 1980s by the iconic Studio 54 in New York City, the Midori sour is as whimsical as it looks thanks to its namesake lime-green melon liqueur. Japanese Midori is certainly the star of the show, since its unique flavor and color are practically irreplaceable. The bright, sweet, tropical notes of cantaloupe and muskmelon get a tangy complement with the addition of equal parts lime and lemon juice, topped off with mineral water for a fizzy, refreshing finish. The sweet and fruity notes all but camouflage Midori sour’s last defining ingredient: vodka.

Still, mixologists and drinkers have strong opinions on the best vodka to use for a delicious Midori sour. Look talked to expert cocktail consultant, creator, and historian Tiffanie Barriere to get a well-informed perspective. Barriere recognizes that the “taste of Midori melon liqueur dominates the cocktail,” and has no qualms about letting it shine. She therefore recommends using a mid-range vodka which she defines as “something between $20 – $30.”

While top shelf vodkas are certainly worth the price for vodka lovers who want to enjoy a glass on the rocks or an elegant martini, their refined tastes would be lost behind what Barriere describes as the “bold and sweet melon flavor” of a Midori sour. Considering the abundance of vodka brands in the mid-range category, Barriere suggests “support[ing] small and minority businesses” by buying from brands like Blackleaf, Vusa, and Highway.

More tips and ideas from the drinking coach

different Midori cocktails

Barriere’s countless contributions to the loftiest mixology and cocktail publications, television shows, and bar menus coupled with numerous food and beverage awards has earned her the nickname, “The Drinking coach.” As such, she’s the perfect consultant to help you think outside of the box when it comes to a Midori sour.

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If you actually want a spirit that will stand up to the overpowering melon flavor of Midori, Barriere offers plenty of vodka swaps to try. With its tropical, fruity notes, a Midori sour would benefit from rum. Barrier recommends using light rum to provide “a slightly sweet and tropical note that complements the melon flavor of Midori.” For a more sophisticated balance of sweet and savory, Barrier opts for gin, with its “botanical and herbal notes.” Lastly, she thinks that silver tequila is a worthy vodka swap that will “bring a unique agave flavor and a bit of spice.”

Spirit swaps aren’t the only ways to put a novel twist on a classic Midori sour. Barrier shares a few tasty variations that require the addition of fresh ingredients. For example, her spicy Midori sour throws slices of fresh jalapeños into the cocktail shaker, while her berry Midori sour muddles raspberries or blackberries into the cocktail before mixing. Her all-time favorite is a coconut Midori sour which uses a blend of vodka and coconut rum.

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