The sweet, limey Kamikaze is a classic, unpretentious crowd-pleaser that has fueled parties since the disco era.
The Kamikaze, undoubtedly named after the Japanese special attack force that flew their planes into enemy ships during World War II, is a reliable workhorse shot. Origin stories may vary, but unlike other drinks, cocktail historians aren’t exactly poring over historical accounts over where or when it was first created.
Though it may not enjoy the venerated status of the Martini or pop culture associations like the Cosmopolitan, the unpretentious Kamikaze can always be depended upon to keep a party going.
The Kamikaze hits with soft, juicy, lime balanced against a slightly syrupy sweetness.
The simplicity of the Kamikaze lends itself to lots of interesting variations. It’s not often one runs into a Kamikaze snob, but they’re out there.
- Try experimenting with different flavored vodkas such as raspberry, orange or even vanilla for fun flavor combinations.
- Replacing triple sec with sweet flavored liqueurs can also add different visual and flavor elements. For example, Chambord adds a sweet berry punch and a deep purple/pink presentation, while blue curaçao retains the orange flavor but creates a striking neon blue/green color.
- If you’re not into slugging back shots, the Kamikaze can be strained into a cocktail glass or over ice into a highball and garnished with a lime wheel. Consider increasing the proportions of each ingredient.
This is a utility shot meant to jump start the party. One technically could relax and sip a Kamikaze, but that’s not really what shots are for, are they?
- Large, high-intensity events: Sometimes people need to “shoot and scoot” rather than “sit and savor.” Hosting large events may require a dedicated bartender, as it’s rare to make just one Kamikaze at a time.
- Hosting parties: Sometimes a party reaches a point when it’s time to pull out the shaker and line up the shots!
- Outdoor events: If served as a cocktail, the Kamikaze is perfect for golfing, cookouts, or just sitting on the porch.
- After dinner: the sweet citrus of the Kamikaze works as a fresh after dinner palate cleanser.
If enjoying as a cocktail instead of a shot (see “Variations” above),
- Fruit desserts, especially sorbet and fresh berries.
- Light to medium-bodied seafood, such as shrimp cocktail, calamari, ceviche, or sushi.
- Savory snacks and small plates, especially soft cheeses and crackers, and bruschetta.
Always enjoy the Kamikaze responsibly.
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