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The Japanese Slipper is a sophisticated sweet and sour green cocktail with notes of melon and citrus. A true stunner!

Japanese Slipper
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Here’s an impressive cocktail that’s as sophisticated as it is stunning: the Japanese Slipper! This bright green drink makes your eye brows raise on first sip. It’s perfectly balanced between sweet and sour, with notes of melon and citrus. Don’t let the electric green color fool you: it’s not overly sweet or artificial tasting. It’s just darn delicious. Alex and I originally bought Midori, a Japanese melon liqueur, to try out the famous Midori Sour. But let us tell you: the Japanese Slipper is just as good (or better?).

What’s in a Japanese Slipper?

The Japanese Slipper was invented in 1984 in Melbourne, Australia by a French bartender named Jean-Paul Bourguignon. As the story goes, a sales rep brought him a bottle of the new Japanese melon liqueur, Midori. He mixed it with lemon juice and Cointreau, an orange liqueur from his native France. It became an instant hit (read more here). While it might seem like the overly boozy and neon drinks of the 1980’s, it’s actually surprisingly well balanced.

The Japanese Slipper is an equal parts cocktail, meaning it uses the same quantity of each of the three ingredients. Here’s what’s in this green drink:

  • Midori liqueur
  • Cointreau
  • Lemon juice

All about Midori

Midori is a specialty ingredient: is it worth buying? While this 1980’s liqueur was out of vogue for a while, we think it’s worth a place in your liquor cabinet. Here’s a bit more about it:

  • Midori is a honeydew melon flavored Japanese liqueur that’s bright green in color. It was first released in 1964 as Hermes Melon Liqueur. When released in the US in 1978, the name was changed to “Midori,” the Japanese word for green.
  • What does Midori taste like? It’s very sweet, with a candy-like honeydew melon flavor.
  • What cocktails can you make with Midori? The most famous cocktails with Midori are the Japanese Slipper, Midori Sour and Tokyo Tea (Long Island Iced Tea with Midori).
  • How much does Midori cost? A small bottle (375 ml) costs around $15, and a large bottle (750 ml) is about $25-30.
  • Is it worth buying? We think so, for the adventurous home mixologist! You can make the cocktails above, or even mix it with soda water or champagne.

Don’t have Cointreau?

Got Cointreau on hand? Cointreau is an orange liqueur with a lightly sweet, orange perfume flavor. When it comes to orange liqueur, it’s a high-quality liquor that’s worth the splurge vs the pedestrian triple sec. But don’t have it? Here are a few things you can substitute for Cointreau:

  • Triple Sec
  • Grand Marnier
  • Orange Curacao
  • Any other orange liqueur
Japanese Slipper

How to make a Japanese Slipper

The Japanese Slipper is an easy cocktail for two reasons: it’s got just 3 ingredients, and it’s equal parts. So, it’s easy to remember when you’re measuring! You do have to mix it up in a cocktail shaker, but that’s all there is to it. Here are the basic steps:

  • Add ingredients to a cocktail shaker and shake. Add 2 handfuls ice and shake until cold. Don’t have a cocktail shaker? You can use a mason jar with a cover.
  • Strain and garnish. Strain the drink into a cocktail glass (use any type of strainer if you don’t have a cocktail shaker). Then garnish with a cocktail cherry: it’s traditional to have it rest at the bottom of the glass.

The Japanese Slipper is actually constructed more similarly to classic cocktails of the past than a 1980’s drink! The Cointreau and lemon harken back to sour cocktails of the 1920’s. And the Midori…well, there are a few great drinks with that bright green liqueur too! Here are a few related drinks to try if you love this one:

  • Tokyo Tea This easy sipper is like Long Island Iced Tea…but with Midori! And even tastier.
  • Midori Sour Pair Midori with lemon, lime, and soda water for a sweet tart drink.
  • Cosmopolitan The Cosmo stars vodka, cranberry, lemon and Cointreau: and has a very similar vibe!
  • Sidecar One of the most famous classic sour cocktails, it stars Cognac, lemon and Cointreau.
  • White Lady Cocktail Another classic cocktail featuring gin, lemon and Cointreau.
Japanese Slipper

When to serve a Japanese Slipper

The Japanese Slipper is classy cocktail to impress all your friends! Try it as a:

  • Happy hour drink
  • Dinner party drink
  • Late night drinks drink
  • Guys or girls night drink
  • Cocktail hour drink
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Japanese Slipper

The Japanese Slipper

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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x
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The Japanese Slipper is a sophisticated sweet and sour green cocktail with notes of melon and citrus. A true stunner!


  • 1 ½ ounces* Midori
  • 1 ½ ounces Cointreau
  • 1 ½ ounces lemon juice
  • For the garnish: Cocktail cherry (optional)


  1. Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake 15 seconds until cold.
  2. Strain the drink into a cocktail or martini glass. Garnish with a cocktail cherry and serve. 


*1 ½ ounces = 3 tablespoons

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Shaken
  • Cuisine: Cocktails
  • Diet: Vegan

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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1 Comment

  1. Tiffany Dycus says:

    Love this! The lemon juice balances the sweetness of the Midori and makes a delicious sour cocktail.