Kamikaze Cocktail – Original Recipe & History

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Course: DrinksCuisine: American






Total time



How to make a Kamikaze cocktail.


  • 1 dash 1 Lime Juice

  • 1 dash 1 Orange Liqueur

  • 1.5 oz 1.5 Vodka


  • Technique: Simple Combine
  • Simply combine the ingredients together.
  • This works best if the ingredients are pre-chilled.

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The History Of The Kamikaze Cocktail

The Kamikaze was most likely invented in the early 1970s. In the January 1989 issue of Motorboating and Sailing Magazine, cocktail writer John Mariani states Tony Lauriano created the Kamikaze in 1972. While working at Les Pyrenees restaurant in New York, he originally named the drink the Jesus Christ Superstar after the famous Andrew Lloyd Webber Broadway show. People thought the name was too weird, and it was renamed the Kamikaze soon after, as drinking a couple of them will send you into a destructive nosedive. In the October 1979 issue of Ski Magazine, on page 78, an article by Peter Miller provides a different origin about the Kamikaze cocktail spread in popularity. Miller states the kamikaze first came out of Florida (though he does not give a specific name as Mariani does) in the early to mid-1970s, and from there, it moved to New York. Once it became popular in New York, the cocktail spread to the rest of the country. The Kamikaze became particularly popular in the ski resorts of North America. The Kamikaze is named for its strength and the idea that it’s a one-way trip once you start to drink them. Miller’s article predates Mariani’s article by ten years, and proximity to creation is important. Miller also provides the oldest known recipe for the Kamikaze. Either one could be true or neither.

  • 1.5 oz of prechilled Vodka
  • A dash of lime juice
  • 1 drop of Cointreau

The cocktail is not mixed with ice as the ingredients are already pre-chilled in the freezer. Combine in the glass and serve.

The oldest reference I can find to the Kamikaze cocktail is in a 1975 public state disclosure of different companies marketing records. In 1975 Montebello Brands Inc began selling a premixed bottled cocktail called the Original Kamikaze Cocktail, a mix of vodka, orange liqueur, and lemon juice. Montebello has no official product page for the product, but it can be seen here on Wine Chateau. Most likely, the mixed drink came before the pre-mixed bottle, but this shows that by 1975 the cocktail was well known enough for a pre-mix to sell.

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