If you’ve noticed a neon green cocktail popping up on your TikTok feed—and no, it’s not the Grinch cocktail—you’re certainly not alone. The drink in question? Tokyo Iced Tea. Videos featuring this recipe have a combined total of roughly 31 million views on TikTok and the trend shows no signs of slowing down.
Like many of our favorite cocktails, the origins of this spritzy sipper are quite murky. We do know it wasn’t invented in Tokyo and, according to Punch, there has yet to be a person dubbed the Tokyo Tea creator. But (as always) there are some theories.
For instance, Simon Difford, founder and CEO of Difford’s Guide, told Punch he believes the drink could have been invented by the restaurant chain TGI Fridays back in the 1980s or 1990s. But there’s no record of it being served there. Meanwhile, the European Bartender School claims the drink was created for the 1977 film Saturday Night Fever. However, that claim is also unsubstantiated.
All that said, this drink’s uncertain history certainly hasn’t hindered its skyrocketing popularity. Here’s everything to know about it—plus how to make Tokyo Tea.
What Is Tokyo Tea?
In fact, they only differ by a handful of ingredients. The Tokyo Tea subs in Midori, a melon-flavored Japanese liqueur that gives the drink its signature neon color, for the Long Island Iced Tea’s triple sec. It also uses a sweet-and-sour syrup instead of simple syrup.
What Does a Tokyo Tea Taste Like?
If citrusy, sour flavor is your thing, then this cocktail is an absolute must.
“It taste like a refreshing citrusy, melon drink,” says Jacy Topps, Wine Enthusiast‘s reviewer for Languedoc-Roussillon and Vin de France, print assistant digital editor and developer of our Tokyo Tea recipe.
How to Make Tokyo Tea
Recipe by Jacy Topps
- ½ ounce gin
- ½ ounce vodka
- ½ ounce white rum
- ½ white tequila
- ½ Midori
- 1 ounce sweet-and-sour syrup (ingredients and recipe below)
- 1 ounce club soda
- Luxardo cherries, for garnish
Combine everything except for the club soda in a cocktail shaker.
Fill shaker with ice, close the shaker and shake vigorously for 15 seconds. Strain into a highball or Collins glass filled with ice.
Top with club soda. Garnish with Luxardo cherry.
How to Make Sweet and Sour Syrup
Place 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Transfer simple syrup to an airtight container. Add 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice and 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice. Cover and shake vigorously. Store in the fridge until ready to use.
Last Updated: June 27, 2023