Nostalgia for the 80s is reaching fever pitch, influencing everything from fashion and music to cocktails. And the latest liqueur that’s predicted to ride the wave is Midori.
Midori is made from premium Japanese musk melons. It made its US debut in 1978 at the Saturday Night Fever launch party at the iconic New York disco Studio 54.
According to Tasting Table, its most famous cocktail iteration, the Midori Sour – Midori stirred over ice with sour mix and garnished with a citrus wedge and a maraschino cherry, and often a splash of soda – went on to become the “cocktail that defined the 1980s”.
The liqueur slipped from favour in the late 90s, until Suntory developed an updated recipe of Midori in 2012 that reduced the amount of artificial additives by 20% with the aim of making the drink less sweet.
It’s been slowly creeping back into favour with bartenders – and consumers – ever since.
It was reintroduced to the public in its new form in 2013 at Tales of the Cocktail where it was used in highballs, each of which was garnished with a glow stick. Since then, bartenders all over the world have been featuring the liqueur in cocktails thanks to its eye-catching colour and newer, lower-sugar recipe.
Online searches for Midori cocktails have increased 83% this year compared to 2022 according to Google Trends. Beam Suntory Marketing Director ANZ Trent Chapman describes the liqueur as a “sleeping global giant”.
Australian drinks industry expert Penny Sippe said: “Twenty plus years ago it was all about fruity, tropical and refreshing Midori Illusions when I was growing up in Brisbane. They say trends circle back around 20 years, so the time is right for a Midori revival. No doubt Australian bartenders have finessed the serve appealing to those enjoying the melon notes for the first time as well as guests – like me – searching for a little nostalgia.”
Its renaissance has prompted OTR Premium Cocktails to release a Midori Sour RTD in the US.
“As one of the fastest growing RTD brands, OTR is constantly innovating to push the boundaries of what the category can be,” said Heather Boyd, managing director– RTD, Beam Suntory.
“This limited-edition release of Midori Sour energizes and capitalizes on a trending era we know our consumers are experiencing first hand and that has influenced top bar programs nationwide.”
Rocco Milano, co-founder and global brand ambassador for OTR Premium Cocktails said: “With OTR Midori Sour, we are paying homage to the iconic cocktails that shaped 1980’s nightlife by tapping into Beam Suntory’s rich portfolio. As Beam Suntory is the originator of this iconic liquid, it’s exciting to bring it back to life in this new format.”