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The Melon Ball Cocktail • The Ultimate Throwback Party

Written by The Kitchen Hand on . Posted in drink

The melon ball drink is said to have been first served at a launch party in Studio 54. Studio 54 was the place to be back in the 70s. All the A-list celebrities went there to see and be seen. Partygoers say it is the place where they could truly be free.

The Melon Ball is like a party in a glass. The drink is fun and fruity, but it also packs quite a punch. It is the best cocktail to serve at a disco-themed party. Your guests will truly feel like they’re partying at Studio 54.

What is a Melon Ball Cocktail?

The melon ball cocktail is a sugary drink that became a staple at parties in the 1990s. It is bright green in color because of its main ingredient, Midori. It also contains freshly squeezed juice and vodka. It is a light, slightly tangy drink that easily goes down. If you serve this at a party, you will notice your guests sipping on it all night long.

But be warned, while it is smooth and sweet, it does have alcohol in it. So, remind your guests to consume this beverage moderately. It gets its name from the fact that it is usually served with melon balls in it. You read that right. Melon balls. These are round chunks of fresh melon that are added fresh or frozen to the drink.

What is Midori?

In 1978, a whiskey and beer manufacturer came up with a formula for a sweet liqueur that is flavored with melon. The inventor was Suntory. The drink was Midori. The name actually means “green” in Japanese. This was due to its bright green flavor that is reminiscent of the color of leaves.

It was around for a while but really took off when it was launched in Studio 54. During that time, this popular discotheque was the venue for the most outrageous party. The launch party was attended by big names including John Travolta. After that night, Midori became a staple at bars and other party venues. Everybody wanted to drink what the celebrities were drinking that time.

Very few individuals really drink Midori on its own. Its sweet taste is very much like grenadine or Blue Curacao. However, because of its unique melon flavor, it quickly became the go-to mixing ingredient for fruity cocktails.

Indeed, the Midori was made as the main ingredient for many drinks like the Japanese slipper, Midori Sour, Pina punch, Spider’s kiss, and the Melon Ball. There are many other Midori/midair drink recipes which you can find on the brand’s website. You can find bottles of Midori in bars in more than 30 countries all over the world. The company sells over 250,000 cases of it every year.

Why Midori is the Perfect Accompaniment to The Melon Ball Cocktail?

Midori goes great with the Melon Ball drink and other sweet cocktails because of its luscious and refreshing melon flavor. A lot of people think that it is made from a combination of cantaloupe and honeydew. According to its makers, Midori is indeed made from a combination of melons: the Yubari King melon and the Musk melon.

  • Yubari melon – Why is it called the king? Because it is considered as one of the most expensive fruits in the world. It is a cross between two kinds of cantaloupes. These king melons are grown near the Yubari City of Japan and is known for its orange-colored and juicy flesh. This melon typically goes for $50 each.
  • Musk melon – This incredibly juicy and sweet melon is grown in the provinces of Shizuoka and Aichi. While the Yubari is orange-fleshed, this one is green-fleshed. Its color is said to be the inspiration for the vivid green color of the Midori liqueur.

It is not surprising that the Midori liqueur came from Japan. This country is said to grow the best and most expensive types of melons in the world. Would you believe that some melons there sell for $20,000?

While the drink is pretty sweet, this liqueur has a higher alcoholic content than most liqueurs. It is said to have 21% ABV. So, if you plan on serving Melon Ball cocktails at your party, make sure to give your guests a heads up. It is easy to consume more of this drink because it tastes so sweet. Some might mistake it for juice.

What are the Best Melon Ball Recipes?

The melon ball drink is really very easy to make. You only need two bottles of alcohol and some fruit juice. The most important part of this drink, for me, is the fresh fruit. If it is in season, grab some cantaloupes and honeydews.

Here is your list of melon ball ingredients:

  • 2 ounces of Midori liqueur
  • 1 ounce of vodka (any brand will do)
  • Fresh orange juice
  • Ice

To prepare the cocktail drink, follow these steps:

  1. Grab a Collins glass or a large tumbler and fill it with ice.
  2. Pour in your vodka and Midori liqueur.
  3. Fill the glass with orange juice.
  4. Get your stirrer and mix the ingredients.

To make your drinks extra refreshing, get your scooper and scoop out melon balls. Use these fruit balls for garnish. Below are some tips to make your melon ball drink party-ready:

  • Use only freshly squeezed juice. The concentrates and powder mixes leave a weird aftertaste that can ruin your cocktail.
  • To avoid watering down your  melon ball cocktail, use frozen melon balls instead of ice to cool your drink. Scoop out the melon balls and lay each on a baking tray to prevent them from sticking to each other.
  • To give the orange juice a little boost, add half an ounce of triple sec to the mix. Not only does this give the drink extra orange flavor, but it also ups the alcohol content. Triple sec can have from 15 to 40% ABV.
  • Chill your vodka and Midori to make the drink extra cold. Don’t put the bottles in the freezer though.
  • To avoid drying out the melon balls, scoop them out right before serving the drinks.
  • To make them more potent, soak the melon balls in vodka. These are now tiny alcohol bombs.
  • For more color, make watermelon balls. This doesn’t affect the taste of the drink, but it adds a pop of red to your drinks. This makes it a great cocktail option for the afternoon get-togethers.
  • If you don’t have a scooper, you can also cut the melons in cubes. Just make sure to cut them in even shapes and sizes so it would still look nice.

How to Make Melon Ball Shots?

Do you want to make a fruity melon ball shot rather than full tumblers of this particular drink? It’s pretty easy too. This recipe is a variation because it uses pineapple juice rather than orange.

You will need the following:

  • 2 ounces of vodka
  • 1 ounce of Midori
  • 1 ounce of pineapple juice
  • Ice
  • Shaker
  • Shot glasses
  • Melon balls
  • Toothpicks

In the shaker, pour in the vodka, liqueur, and juice. Fill the shaker with ice. Attach the cover and start shaking. Strain the mix into shot glasses. Spear one melon ball using a toothpick.

Balance the melon ball toothpick on the rim of the glass. When you serve the melon ball shot, make sure to remind the drinker that the garnish has a toothpick in it. This is to avoid any person from swallowing it whole. Nothing will spoil your party buzz faster than a trip to the emergency room.

What is the Other Popular Midori-Based Cocktails?

Besides the Melon Ball, you can use Midori to make other fruit-flavored cocktail drinks. Here are some of the more popular ones and their recipes:

  • Japanese slipper – For this drink, you’ll need 1 ounce of Midori liqueur, 1 ounce of triple sec (any brand), and 1 ounce of lemon juice (freshly squeezed). Mix all of the liquids in a shaker. Strain the mixture into a cocktail glass. To cap it off, garnish the drink with a maraschino cherry.
  • Midori Sour – For this popular drink, combine 1 ounce of the melon liqueur and 1 ounce of sour mix in a chilled cocktail glass. Add a lemon wedge as a garnish. What’s sour mix? It’s basically simple syrup mixed with lime and lemon juice. Some might say it’s lemonade in concentrate form.
  • Pina Punch – If you want a melon ball punch with some punch, mix 1 cup each of melon liqueur, pineapple vodka, and mango juice in a punch bowl. Add 3 cups of pineapple juice and half a cup of lemon-lime soda. Add some ice. Garnish the punch with slices of mango and pineapples. For some extra color, drop in a few cherries in the mix.
  • Spider’s KissThis Halloween favorite is such a hit at parties. First, you need to prepare the martini glass. Using chocolate fudge, pipe a spider web on the inside of the martini glass. Put the prepared glasses in the fridge to let the chocolate set. In a shaker, pour in an ounce of melon liqueur, and 1 ounce of vodka. Add a splash of freshly-squeezed lemon juice. Give the mix a good shake. Take out the martini glasses and strain the cocktail into it. To add some “blood”, gently pour in a few teaspoons of grenadine. Garnish with one orange slice. To give it an extra oomph, use chocolate-covered oranges.

Do I Really Need Midori To Make Melon Ball Drinks?

The answer is no. There are other melon liqueurs in the market. One alternative is the Mr. Boston melon liqueur. Cheaper alternatives to Midori are DeKuyper, Potter’s, and Bols. You can actually make your own melon-flavored liqueur if you can’t buy a bottle of Midori in your area. If you are a fan of homemade ingredients, this is something that you can try out.

Here is your list of ingredients:

  • 2 cups of vodka
  • 5 ounces of corn syrup
  • 5 ounces of simple syrup
  • 10 pieces Jolly Ranchers (watermelon flavor)
  • Half of a cantaloupe
  • 1 green apple
  • 0.5 oz of malic acid
  • 1 ounce of water
  • Food coloring (green, of course)

For this liqueur, you will need a bowl, a couple of Mason jars, and a sieve. Start by removing the rind and seeds of the cantaloupe. Cut it into small cubes. Core and cut the green apple into small cubes too. Place these in one of the Mason jars. Dissolve the malic acid in water. Pour this over the fruits. Add the remaining ingredients then seal the Mason jar well. Give the jar a good shake until the liquids are well mixed.

After letting the mixture infuse overnight, check the jar if the Jolly Ranchers have completely dissolved. If they are, open the jar and strain the liqueur using the sieve. If not, give the mixture a good shake and let it sit for a few more hours.

Once you are done straining it into the other Mason Jar, you can now add drops of the green food coloring until you have achieved the color that you desire. Put the lid back on. Keep this jar in a cool place. You can now start using this homemade Midori copycat for your melon-flavored drinks.

Is the recipe too complex? Here is a much simpler recipe for you.

All you will need are the following:

  • 2 cups of chopped cantaloupe
  • 5 cups of vodka
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1 cup of water

Get a mason jar and place your cantaloupe pieces in it. Pour in the vodka. Put the lid back on the Mason jar and give it a good shake. Leave the jar in a cool place for three days. This should be enough to let the melon flavor steep into the alcohol. Get your strainer and separate the solid fruits from the liquids. Press down on the cantaloupe pieces to squeeze out the absorbed liquids. Using a coffee filter, strain the mixture a few more times.

Make a simple syrup by melting the sugar in the water over low fire. Allow the syrup to cool. Add this to the melon mixture once it has fully cooled. Seal the jar and give it a shake. Allow the liqueur to settle for one more day before using it in your cocktails. This should be good for a couple of months as long as you keep it in the refrigerator.

Are There Any Variations to The Melon Ball Cocktail?

I have found a variation of the melon ball cocktail that is a little sweeter than the original recipe. This melon flavored drink adds a shot of elderflower liqueur. This gives the cocktail an herbal-ish taste. If you like martini-style drinks, this may be the recipe for you.

To make this variation, here are your ingredients:

  • 2 ounces melon liqueur (Midori or otherwise)
  • 1-ounce Skyy vodka (any citrus flavor)
  • Half ounce of elderflower liqueur (St. Germain is recommended)
  • Half ounce freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • Sugar for rimming
  • Melon balls for garnish

Place a few cocktail glasses in the chiller. During the party (or whenever you feel like having a cocktail), grab a cocktail glass and rim it with sugar. Pour all the liquid ingredients into a shaker. Give it a good shake then strain the mixture into the sugared glass. Add some melon balls for garnish. This drink could be an acquired taste.

How Do You Choose the Vodka That Goes with The Melon Ball Ingredients?

When you pour out vodka shots, choosing the right brand doesn’t really matter. You drink it so fast that it’s already down your throat by the time you taste it. However, when you are dealing with cocktails, a little more consideration with the kind of vodka you put in the mix is advisable. The good kinds help make the drink smoother, making it go down easier.

There are so many awesome tasting vodkas in the market that are affordable. There’s Svedka, Skyy, and New Amsterdam. To give your melon ball cocktail extra flavor, you can always try using flavored vodka. If you buy a few bottles of different flavors, you can ask your guests to choose the one they like best. You can mix them a bespoke melon ball drink.

Here are some flavors that you can try out:

  • Lemon
  • Orange
  • Pineapple
  • Green apple
  • Banana
  • Coconut

The truth is you can pretty much use any fruit-flavored vodka. Stay away from chocolate, coffee, cinnamon, root beer, or caramel though. That may produce a weird mix. Although, I heard that mixing marshmallow vodka in the original melon ball recipe produces a pretty cool cocktail. Parties are great opportunities to be adventurous. Go ahead and explore your flavored-vodka choices.

Conclusion

For the ultimate throwback experience, throw a party with a Studio 54 theme and serve the drink that was born at that rocking venue. The Melon Ball drink is the perfect beverage for any indoor or outdoor event because it is so fruity and refreshing. It might be what your throwback party needs for your guests to feel like they are A-listers.

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The Kitchen Hand

The Kitchen Hand

Your Personal In-House 'HOW TO' Gastro Master. From Slicing up A Pig for Christmas or Selecting Your Organic Ingredients for that Super Vegan Juice, The kitchen Hand Knows More Than You Might Think .
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