The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2015

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december 2015  /  the tasting panel  /  1 17 M idori may have made its glamourous debut back in 1978 at the legendary New York nightclub Studio 54, but the rich history of the emerald green liqueur comes from somewhere a little bit further . . . Japan, to be exact. Midori, Japanese for "green", was a liqueur created by bartenders, for bartenders, as a pushback against the darker spirits that were popular at the time. Made by Beam Suntory, Midori was derived from their Hermes' Melon liqueur and became an instant hit. The distinctive color and flavor is made from Japanese melons, the same kind that the Japanese auction off at the start of their growing season every year—sometimes fetching upwards of $20,000 for one melon. To promote the liqueur, Midori has a unique Global Brand Ambassador in Manuel Terron, or, as he calls himself, the "Mad Professor." THE TASTING PANEL joined Terron at Los Angeles hot spot E.P. & L.P. for "Say Moshi Moshi to Midori," a new campaign launched to reintroduce Midori to bartenders around the country—moshi moshi means "hello" in Japanese. While Midori has always been great mixed in a wide variety of cocktails, Terron has taken it upon himself to explore more "uncommon cocktails." Terron explains, "I wanted to create adaptable drinks that don't scare the consumer, but also use Midori in a new way that will lead to that 'Aha!' moment." While the drinks featured at the event were fun takes on classic cocktails like the M2, a version of a Moscow Mule, or the E.P. & L.P., a play on a traditional Daiquiri, there was still innovation in the air. Terron was mixing up cocktails for attendees, customizing each Midori-themed drink to their individual preferences and tastes. "The new version of Midori has half the sugar content of the original liqueur, and I love making creative and quirky cocktails," Terron says. "I want to stretch the boundaries of the brand; I did so with creations like a borscht [beet] Martini or by using basil, balsamic and artichoke bitters." While Terron loves experimenting with the versatility of Midori and has developed an astonishing library of 50 or 60 Midori cocktails, he still embraces a back-to-basics approach at times. "I want to inspire other bartenders to use their own innovation and show their own creativity in a cocktail tailored to their specific market." Paul Zahn, National Brand Ambassador for Midori, is also a fan of the adaptability that the liqueur has: "One aspect of Midori that I appreciate is its mixibility. Midori mixes wonderfully with vodka, gin, tequila—even Champagne. One of my favorite cocktail party drinks is a splash of Midori in a glass of bubbly with a frozen melon ball." It's a testament to the liqueur that while it has such an inimitable flavor, it pairs so well with such a vast range of spirits. As Zahn points out: "Not many brands are still a staple at every bar 35 years after being launched. You can go into almost any bar and spot Midori on the back bar." Paul Zahn, National Brand Ambassador for Midori, with the M2 cocktail. E.P. & L.P. ◗ ½ oz. Midori ◗ 1½ oz. El Tesoro Tequila ◗ ½ oz. pineapple juice ◗ ½ oz. lime juice ◗ Splash Pandanus syrup ◗ Mint

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