Cocktail of the Month: The Kamikaze  

Last month, our column honored Mother’s Day with a cocktail fit for a queen. This month, we’ll celebrate the summer solstice with a princely — or soon-to-be kingly — tipple.  

The summer solstice, which marks the longest day of the year and the sun’s most northerly point in Earth’s sky, falls between June 20 and 22 in the Northern Hemisphere. This is also considered the first day of summer.  

Way back in 1982, royal-watchers celebrated a huge event on midsummer’s eve. A future king was born on June 21, 1982: Prince William Arthur Philip Louis. According to astrology, solstice babies are believed to be romantic, inspirational and dedicated to the service of a higher purpose.  

Now grown and married with three children, what libation will the prince choose to toast his 42nd birthday? I would have guessed something classic and refined. However, it turns out to be quite the opposite.  

During an outing in Birmingham, England, last year, Prince William admitted to Hello Magazine that “he likes vodka and has a penchant for a Kamikaze cocktail,” which he described as “silent, but deadly” — a suitable phrase for a drink with a mighty kick.   

Far from sophisticated, Kamikazes are usually served as shots and contain a double dose of vodka, along with triple sec and lime. refers to the Kamikaze as a “disco drink,” a class of ’80s drinks widely looked down upon in the mixology community.  

It is believed that this drink was created at an American naval base in the Land of the Rising Sun during World War II, hence the Japanese moniker. The word “kamikaze,” Japanese for “divine wind,” referred to suicide bombers who were trained to fly their aircraft, loaded with explosives, directly into enemy warships.   

The drink rose to popularity during the 1970s and ’80s, around the same time that vodka became the favored potable in bars. Strangely enough, this was another period of noticeable anti-Japanese sentiment in the U.S.   

The mere mention of this shooter calls up foggy memories of tossing back shots at rowdy college parties in the late ’80s. Back in the day, I would make them in bulk using cans of frozen concentrated lime juice, mixing one can of lime and one can of triple sec with two or three cans of vodka in a pitcher. 

Sad to say, it was rarely top-shelf vodka on my starving-student budget. Hopefully, the privileged prince has a more polished palate than I did as a student pauper.    

William’s college years at St Andrews were a lot bougier than mine. It’s been reported by The Mirror that he was known to imbibe a cocktail called the Treasure Chest. This combination of peach liqueur, brandy and champagne was served in a wooden chest at a now-closed London nightclub for £135 a pop.  

As a cocktail, the ingredients for a Kamikaze are shaken with ice until chilled, then strained into a martini glass and sometimes garnished with lime. It is occasionally referred to as a margarita, with vodka substituted for tequila.   

The key to making this cocktail enjoyable is using elite ingredients. Since the vodka composes over half of the cocktail, choose wisely. For the triple sec, I’d use a superb orange liqueur such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier. And always use freshly squeezed lime juice.  


The Kamikaze Cocktail  

1.5 oz. vodka  

.5 oz. orange liqueur (such as Cointreau)  

.5 oz. fresh lime juice  

Mix ingredients together in a shaker with ice until chilled. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with lime if desired.   




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