If there's one liqueur that's least likely to find its way into the craft cocktail world, it's Midori. Neon-green, super-sweet, and only vaguely tasting like what it's supposed to—melon—it's not a likely candidate for any high-end cocktail spot's back bar.
Two ground rules for working with Midori:
1. It's so sweet that you'll need to balance accordingly.
2. Midori's not contributing much melon flavor on its own, so you’ll likely need to amp it up with actual honeydew juice.
Here’s a quick blender version of honeydew juice: Cut open one melon, scoop out and discard the seeds, cut the flesh into medium-sized chunks and toss them into a blender. Blend until smooth (the melon should contain enough moisture that it'll liquify on its own, without water), then strain through a fine-mesh strainer.
Easy: Honeydew Collins
Midori lends itself well to refreshing drinks, like this summer cooler with fresh honeydew juice and a good pour of white rum to stiffen it up.
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine 1 1/2 ounces white rum, 3/4 ounce Midori, 3/4 ounce fresh honeydew juice, and a 1/4 ounce of lime juice. Shake that all up and strain into a tall glass with fresh ice. Add 1/2 an ounce of club soda. Garnish with an orange slice and a melon ball.
Intermediate: Midori & Rye
Take the fruity sweetness of Midori, balance it with the spice and weight of 100-proof rye, and you've got a solid cocktail. Lemon juice brightens the whole thing up.
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine 2 ounces high-proof rye (we're using Knob Creek), an ounce of fresh lemon juice, 3/4 ounce Midori, and 1/2 an ounce of simple syrup. Shake that all up and strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a honeydew spear.
Advanced: Melon Ball
This much-maligned cocktail gets a lot better with the addition of fresh honeydew juice, a little lemon and some pineapple juice to kick up the acidity. These would be hard to turn down at a brunch party.
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine 3/4 ounce vodka, 3/4 ounce Midori, 3/4 ounce fresh honeydew juice, 1/2 an ounce of pineapple juice, and 1/4 ounce of lemon juice. Shake that all up and strain into a coupe. Garnish with a cherry and a melon ball.