It was 1978. Disco was king, Macho Man was playing on the radio, and New York breathed a sigh of relief as the Son of Sam, was sentenced to 25 years to life. The Rockford Files was playing on the TV, the first test tube baby was born in the UK and the median house price in Sydney was a little over $37,000.
And it was also the year that a bright green liquor bottle would shine out across bars around the world and have its launch party at Studio 54. Previously known in Japan as Hermes Melon Liqueur, parent company Suntory renamed this sweet melon liqueur for the Japanese word for “green.”
As vibrant in taste, as it was in colour, Midori was an instant success and even made its U.S. debut at the launch party of Saturday Night Fever, where the film’s cast and crew quaffed brightly-hued “Japanese Gin & Tonics.”
As bright as a disco light and symbolic of a time when colour was everything and shimmer was the colour of the night. But as the lights turned off for disco, they also turned off for Midori and the sparkly green light of the alcohol world was hidden on back bars and lost behind more sensible drinks.
Then in 2013, Santory thought it was time for a revamp and the liqueur has slowly been sneaking its way back onto bar menus across the world. With less sugar and the introduction of natural melon (Japanese melon, muskmelon and Yubari melon) rather than artificial flavours, Midori was back for a new generation.
A guilty pleasure for those who remember its original incarnation, Midori is a versatile liqueur and is definitely an essential liqueur for any well-stocked bar. The two main melons included in the liqueur, Yubari King Melon & the Musk Melon, give it an unmistakable sweetness.
The Yubari Melon: Often touted as the most expensive fruit, Yubari melons are a cross between two cantaloupes and are grown near Yubari City in Japan. It has a juicy sweetness and orange flesh.
Musk Melon: The Musk melon used to make Midori are grown in the Aichi and Shizuoka provinces of Japan. Another high-quality melon, this is a juicy fruit with an amazing sweetness. It has a green flesh which inspired the green color of Midori.
Japan is noted as having the best melon growers in the world and while Midori was originally produced exclusively in Japan, more recently the liqueur has gobe global.
Midori begins with a neutral grain spirit base that is infused with Japanese yubari and musk melon in Japan.
This base spirit is shipped to Mexico and France for finishing.
Before bottling, the melon spirit is blended with brandy and sugar, then food coloring is added to give it that signature green color.
Production of Midori began in Mexico in 1987 and this is where the majority of the world’s Midori is produced today. In 2003, Suntory began production in France to cover the European market.
Midori is available in over 50 countries throughout the world.