The Tokyo Iced Tea cocktail recipe sounds a lot like the Long Island Iced Tea at first, and not just because of the name. Gin, vodka, rum, tequila – it’s a white liquor extravaganza. But after that, the similarity ends.
Unlike the Long Island, the Tokyo Iced Tea has 7-up instead of cola and either Midori or kiwi liqueur instead of triple sec. Older recipes called for kiwi liqueur, and you can still find some recipes around the web that reference it.
But it’s gotten so hard to find kiwi liqueur that’s most recipes have replaced it with Midori. And the flavor of Midori and kiwi liqueur is really very close. Either one gives the drink a mellow, fascinating sort of flavor with a kick you’re almost guaranteed to underestimate.
That’s because the delicious fruity flavor overwhelms the taste of the alcohol. Between the Midori and the 7-Up, it’s easy to overlook just how much alcohol there really is in this drink.
There are a number of variations on this drink. Some recipes, as mentioned above, still call for kiwi liqueur instead of Midori. Others call for sour mix instead of a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
If sour mix is what you have on hand, you can use it instead of lime juice. But you’ll get a fresher, more vibrant taste from the fresh lime. So whenever you can get hold of limes, use them.
The lime will enhance the citrus flavors coming from the 7-Up. It cuts through the sweetness from the soda and the Midori, and gives the whole drink a nice little bite.
Some recipes also call for a couple of of teaspoons of simple syrup. That’s just a syrup made out of sugar, which you can add to any drink that you’d like to make sweeter. Whether you think this drink needs it will depend on your taste. Make it by the recipe first – you can always stir in some simple syrup later.
The taste of Tokyo Iced Tea
This train tastes like a combination of melon and citrus. The melon dominates the drink, so if you like the flavor of Midori, you’re going to like the flavor of the drink. If not… well, you might still like it.
While Midori is usually described as having a melon-like taste, it has a lot more flavor and tanginess than you might expect from that description. Combined with the citrus from the 7-up, it makes for a rather exciting flavor combination. The citrus notes add a nice, sharp contrast to the melon flavor without actually changing it.
There’s just enough tartness for the drink to be refreshing. You’ll find there’s still plenty of sweetness to balance it out. It’s a very easy flavor to enjoy, and most people will love it.
A very strong drink
The main issue with this drink is that – like its cousin the Long Island Iced Tea – it’s knock-you-down strong. It’s easy to be sipping along on this drink and not realize just how much alcohol you’re really drinking. But you’ll know it when you try to stand up.
Keep that in mind whenever you’re enjoying this drink. You might want to set yourself a limit of one per outing. And it might not be the right cocktail for a night of dancing – or anything involving coordination.
Enjoying it with food is another way to dilute the effects of the alcohol, and it’s not that hard to pair with a lunch or dinner. Just think of whether your meal goes with 7-Up or not.
This drink goes very well, for example, with a simple meal of fajitas. The sweetness and tartness of the drink complements the flavors of grilled meat and vegetables.
If you enjoy this cocktail, try the Honeydew-Ginger Martini. It blends vodka with Midori with Domaine De Canton Ginger Liqueur for a refreshing, lightly spicy treat.
And there’s also the Zolezzi Cocktail, which features vanilla vodka and blended with Midori, blue curacao, pineapple juice and more.
- Fill an old-fashioned glass halfway with ice.
- Pour in all the ingredients (except the 7-Up).
- Fill up the rest of the way with 7-up.
- Stir gently so as not to bruise the alcohols.
- Garnish with a kiwi round, cherry, lemon or lime slice.