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Throwback Drink of the Past: Kamikaze

This drink brings back so many memories from my teenage years. This was the first alcoholic drink I ordered at the bar when I was nineteen. The beauty of growing up in Detroit is that Canada is our next-door neighbor.

The legal age to drink in Canada is 19. So, my friends and I couldn’t wait to turn nineteen so we could go over to Canada and drink legally in their clubs. The best part about hanging out in Canada is that our money went a long way. This was 2000, and 10 bucks took you a long way.

The club was free before 11 and was a dollar a shot for a Kamikaze. This is where I introduce this drink. It was trendy in the 2000s. I know young adults born in the 2000s have never heard of this drink. I started making drinks at my home bar and introducing my friends to cocktails that were once popular; Below is a little history of how the Kamikaze became a popular drink.

The Kamikaze was designed to get straight to the point. Invented on a US naval base in Japan after World War II and made famous during the remarkable vodka reign of the 1970s and 80s.

The Japanese called this sweet and sour drink Kamikaze, which translates to "divine wind." It was coined in the 12th century to describe a vast storm that destroyed a Mongol army and halted the invasion of Japan. This drink has a definite acidity with a hint of sweetness.

The combination of vodka, lime juice, and orange liqueur is served chilled like a shot glass and consumed, often, in less time than it takes to put it together. This is different from suggesting that you should run the task randomly. The key to blending a great shooter is eliminating detail and focusing on its bold, refreshing qualities. The drink's journey, after all, is fast.

This recipe calls for two ounces of vodka mixed with orange liqueur and fresh lime juice. The latter contrasts with many recipes that call for a sour mix or Rose's lime cordial and don't offer the same tangy, lemony bite that gives the Kamikaze its backbone. However, fans of the Lemon Drop or even the Cosmopolitan, created as a cranberry-enhanced riff on the Kamikaze.

This cocktail is where you want to pour the smoothest vodka in your bar. Use premium vodkas that you would typically enjoy alone or in a martini. Ensure that the quality of the triple sec matches that of your vodka. Spend a little more on a top-shelf brand; a high-end curaçao works.

Fresh lime juice produces a better-tasting kamikaze. You should be able to get 1 ounce of juice out of a whole lime and can squeeze it directly into the shaker.

I preferred using Cointreau, which gives the drink a much richer flavor than the triple Sec.

Cointreau is a specific brand of triple sec made in Saint-Barthélemy-d’Anjou, France. It’s 40% ABV and is made with several varieties of oranges to give it its signature flavor. Cointreau is bright and slightly acidic without being overly sweet.


2 ounces vodka

1-ounce triple sec (Cointreau)

1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice.

Lime wedge, for garnish


Gather the ingredients.

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes, pour the vodka, triple sec, and lime juice.

Shake Well; Strain into a chilled cocktail glass

Garnish with a lime wedge. Serve and enjoy.

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