You Should Be Adding Midori To Your At-Home Cocktail Bar

In 1978, the cast and crew of the movie "Saturday Night Fever" arrived at nightclub Studio 54 in New York City for a party in their honor. Among other drinks, the film's stars — including John Travolta — were met with an unusually vibrant green drink. This mystery ingredient was Midori, a melon liqueur that had been imported from Japan for the first time for this very event. It went on to become one of the trendiest bar ingredients of the next decade — and then swung hard in the passé direction. But now, like other mid-20th-century foods weirdly making a comeback, it's primed for a return to its former glory.

Midori was actually created in 1964 by the Suntory company, one of Japan's most legendary distilleries. And in fact, Midori — appropriately, the Japanese word for green — wasn't the original name. Before it entered the U.S. market at the "Saturday Night Fever" party, the drink was called Hermes Melon Liqueur.

But let's be honest: Midori has a disputed reputation, as some deem it to be one of the worst liqueurs to have in your home bar. But a bottle of Midori might be worth it — and several cocktails prove it.

Here's how you should use Midori in your homemade cocktails

Those opposed to Midori will say it's candy-sweet, has an unnatural Nickelodeon-slime color, and has a melon flavor that can tip into the artificial — which is pretty true. The unforgettable ingredient is made with Japanese yubari muskmelon, which is similar to but not identical to a cantaloupe. And yes, the alien-like color is the result of food dye. As with any ingredient, even down to the ice, it's easy to make mistakes with your cocktails — but with a few tips, you can master Midori.

Because there's plenty of sugar added, you'll typically want to balance it out with acidity and dilution. A classic drink utilizing the liqueur is a Midori sour. Recipes vary, but many call for lemon and lime juices mixed with Midori and vodka, poured over ice, and topped with club soda.

Once you have the basics down, you can get more creative. Because it's sweet but has subtle earthy undertones, play with it in place of simple syrup in a twist on an Old Fashioned. Or take inspiration from celebrity chef Richard Blais: At one of his restaurants, he combines Midori with vanilla vodka, key lime shrub, pineapple, and coconut foam for a cocktail he calls the "Key Lime in the Coconut."