Lime, vodka and a splash of triple sec - this kamikaze cocktail or shot is one of my all-time favorite drinks.
"The Kamikaze Queen" is what they used to call me. Not one of my parents' prouder moments. When I was in my early twenties, I worked as a hostess at a restaurant in the popular Gastown district of Vancouver. This restaurant was the type of place where sweethearts proposed marriage, diners lingered over a fine bottle of wine, and stars came to eat in relative peace. As an aside, I found out that Richard Thomas still answers to, "Hey, John Boy!" During dinner service, we would occasionally experience some lulls as patrons lingered over their cappuccinos. I took it upon myself to disappear behind the bar and mix up a large batch of kamikaze shots. The sound of the cocktail shaker, which contained a mixture of fresh lime juice, vodka, and triple sec, seemed to work like a dog whistle on the serving staff.
Shots lined up on the container, eight or nine of us would duck down behind the counter, toast a quick "Cheers!" and throw back the liquid treat. For those few minutes, there was not a single member of the staff on the restaurant floor. However, we emerged with smiles on our faces, ready to face a few more hours of dinner service. Unbeknownst to the owner, this became a ritual on busy Friday and Saturday evenings.
These tangy, slightly sweet drinks can be made as cocktails, served in high ball or martini glasses, or potent shots. I will warn you - these are not for the faint of heart and it is imperative that you hand your car keys to someone far more responsible before you start to drink them. Over the years, I found that I enjoy these drinks more when I add a splash of simple syrup. One or two of these will do in my progressing years - a mere shadow of the kamikaze queen.
These are always a favorite at Christmas and New Year's Eve. Serve them alongside some of my favorite New Year's Eve appetizers.
How to make a kamikaze or shot
MAKE SIMPLE SYRUP:
Make a simple syrup by combining equal parts granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan. I typically use 1 cup of each so that I have plenty of simple syrup left over for other uses. It can be stored in a glass container, such as a jar, in the refrigerator for up to one month.
Bring the mixture to a boil and continue to boil, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
MAKE THE COCKTAIL:
Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Add 1 ½ ounce fresh lime juice, 1 ½ ounce vodka, 1 ½ ounce triple sec, and ¾ ounce simple syrup.
Shake well, about 20 seconds, to chill the mixture. Strain into a highball or martini glass for a single drink or, if you prefer, into 4 separate shot glasses. Garnish with a wedge of lime and serve cold.
Kamikaze Cocktail or Shot Recipe
The simple syrup:
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 ½ ounces fresh lime juice
- 1 ½ ounces vodka
- 1 ½ ounces triple sec
- ¾ ounce simple syrup
The Simple Syrup:
- Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil and continue to boil, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
- The cocktail:
- Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Add lime juice, vodka, triple sec, and ¾ oz. simple syrup. Shake well, about 15 seconds, to chill the mixture. Strain into a highball or martini glass for a single drink or, if you prefer, into 4 separate shot glasses. Garnish with a wedge of lime and serve cold.
It’s been so long since I’ve had a kamikaze! My husband made this last weekend and they brought back so many memories of my 20s. Really good!
"Back in the day", this was the road beverage of choice. For simplicity, we we strayed from the the traditional 5:3:1 recipe and dumped a half gallon of vodka (cheapest available), a quart of Triple-sec and a pint of lime juice into a gallon milk jug, shake vigorously and serve liberally. Serves four.
My birthday is on Dec 7 and sometimes the bars would have these on special as a "Pearl Harbor Day" special. Such good memories. Haven't had one in years. Thanks for the idea!
I'm getting married in less than 60 and think you've introduced me to one of my signature drinks!
Please share the best way to make a batch for larger groups while managing the essence of the cocktail.
Thanks a bunch for sharing!
Ahhhhhh.....the Kamikaze 🙂 Still my favorite drink and shot...loved your story.
This looks so refreshing, especially with the lime. I love the thought of you ducking behind the bar to throw back a shot of this! Definitely going to try this.
I love the story behind this recipe!
I often find it surprising how what sound like 'typical' drinks actually have very subtle ways of production...and ultimately these differences can make the difference between a drink, and a GREAT drink. If only I can try one of the ones you have prepared!!
Brie: Le Grand Fromage
haha, that's awesome. looks like a great drink!
Barbara @ moderncomfortfood
I had no idea that you were such a cocktail expert! I can picture enjoying this drink immensely under a shade tree here in the Florida summer swelter. No kamikazi action, though, just a hammock please!
The Wind of the Gods do seem very refreshing!
Thanks for sharing!
I haven't had a Kamikaze since my 20's... thanks for reminding me how tasty they are.
Hi Kamikazi queen , I was a mind eraser queen. Us girls would get a double tall and all stick a straw in it and down it as fast as possible. We did 1 or 2 an hour. By the end of the night it would just be me and the girl bartender sharing one. I was so bad then (had such a high tolerance), now thankfully one drink and I'm done.
I am not a drinker, but this looks WONDERFUL!
...living dangerously like this sure sounds like kamikaze to me...I'll surely keep this cocktail in mind when I need something to brace me...