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The History of Midori Liqueur - One of the Worlds most hated alcoholic products!

Modern bartenders often grimace at the idea of Midori Liqueur being on the backbar of their bars or even when they see it venues. A sign of the 'horrible' 80s when everything had diabetes & bright colours in it! The days when Tom Cruise was THE bartender everybody wanted to be & sours mix was the king of making things taste good. Interestingly even with such a bad rap the liqueur known as Midori was released & even with its radioactive colour happens to be made with fresh products & real fruit! Lets dive in...

For many years the process of production of the iconic green machine was a closely held secret of the Suntory company. Due to the coming of the second golden age of bartending(aka NOW) bartenders have been looking into the provenance of their products, the processes that create the ingredients they're using & demanding more information. So Suntory opened the book of secrets!


The Process

Midori is made from fresh & real fruit. Like or not but that's the way the cookie crumbles & its a fact. Midori is made from two fresh melons, yubari and musk, which are sourced exclusively in Japan – the yubari come from Yubari City on the North Island, where the soil is rich in volcanic ash making it of high nutritional value, and the musk melons are sourced from Aichi and Shizuoka provinces, south of Tokyo, famous for producing high-quality melons that sell for $40 to $200 each.

In Yubari City they make a rich orange-coloured pulp from the yubari melons harvested in June and July. This pulp is frozen straightaway to harness the fresh flavour and it is then ordered in by Suntory when there is a Midori production run. The frozen pulp is left in bags on the factory floor until it is completely defrosted before they begin the two processes that are at the heart of Midori to create a yubari infusion and a yubari distillate.

A neutral high-grade spirit is used for both the processes, with no fermenting. They use an enzyme for the yubari infusion to help break down the more fibrous pulp and then add neutral spirit and some sugar. The yubari distillate is made in a low-pressure still to harness the fresh yubari flavour. They put in the yubari pulp, high-grade spirit and water to produce a 59 per cent ABV rich-tasting smooth distillate. The yubari infusion and the yubari distillate are then mixed with a musk melon infusion, made in Shizouka, still at an ABV of 59 per cent.

Global Domination

The concentrate – which is by now a clear spirit with a slight orange hue – is kept refrigerated and sent to both Mexico and France where the production process is completed. The concentrate is blended with cane sugar and Louis Royer two-year-old brandy made in Cognac with local and Airén grapes, which is when the ABV is brought down to 20 per cent. At this stage, they also add the green food colouring to create the liqueur’s distinctive colour which matches the flesh of the musk melon. The surface of the fruit is also reflected in the textured bottle design. Mexico produces about 80 to 85 per cent of the world’s Midori while France produces the rest exclusively for the European market including the UK.

The Japanese Slipper A Japanese slipper is a drink made from Midori, Cointreau, and lemon juice. It was created in 1984 by Jean-Paul Bourguignon at Mietta's Restaurant in Melbourne. Interestingly enough you could say it is one of Australia's most iconic modern cocktails. It falls under all the current trends of low-abv due to the base only being a liqueur but at the same time it is made under the same formula as a basic sour. The recipe is below: Ingredients 30ml Midori 30ml Curacao 30ml Lemon Juice Preparation: Shake together in a mixer with ice. Strain into glass, garnish and serve.

Weird History:

Midori was launched in the United States in 1978 and with a party at the famous nightclub Studio 54, attended by the stars of Saturday Night Fever. So we're talking John Travolta sipping on green sweet melon juice while shaking his hips!

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