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Kamikaze cocktail in a Martini glass.

Photo: iStock

Kamikaze cocktail

The kamikaze cocktail is often regarded as a variation of other popular cocktails due to similarities in its ingredients and preparation. Specifically, the kamikaze is often compared to the margarita, which typically comprises tequila, lime juice and triple sec, whereas the kamikaze substitutes the tequila for vodka. The replacement of vodka for tequila provides the kamikaze with a somewhat different flavour profile, with a smoother, less distinct taste.

Similarly, the kamikaze is sometimes considered a variation of the cosmopolitan, which also includes vodka and triple sec, but instead of lime juice, it uses cranberry juice. The kamikaze becomes a more potent, less sweet drink by removing cranberry juice and using lime juice instead.

Despite these similarities, the kamikaze has established itself as a cocktail in its own right, with a unique flavour and a dedicated following. Its simplicity and potential for customisation have made it a popular choice among mixologists and home bartenders. Whether you prefer your kamikaze neat or on the rocks, with or without garnish, there's no denying that it has earned its place as a classic cocktail.

27 March, 2023
Average: 3.3 (3 votes)

serves for


total time

0 HR 5 MIN


1oz (30ml)
Triple sec
1oz (30ml)
Lemon juice
1oz (30ml)


Step 01

Squeeze lemon and strain juice.

Step 02

Chill a martini glass with two ice cubes.

Step 03

Fill a shaker with ice and pour lemon juice.

Step 04

Pour vodka.

Step 05

Add triple sec.

Step 06

Shake vigorously for 25 seconds.

Step 07

Pour the mixture into the chilled martini glass and garnish with a lemon zest/slice if desired.

How to serve a kamikaze cocktail

To serve a Kamikaze cocktail, you should start by chilling your martini glass in the freezer or by filling it with ice cubes for a few minutes to ensure it's cold. Remove the ice cubes from the martini glass and strain the kamikaze cocktail into the glass. You can add a lime wedge as a garnish for some extra flair or simply serve the drink as is.

The kamikaze can be served straight up or on the rocks, depending on your preference. Either way, it's best to enjoy it immediately while it's still cold and refreshing.

The history of the kamikaze

The kamikaze cocktail is believed to have originated on a US naval base in Japan during World War II. Initially, it was a shot but later adapted to a cocktail due to its popularity. The drink was named after the Japanese kamikaze bombers, who were trained to fly their planes directly into enemy warships, killing themselves as well as those onboard. Kamikaze is the Japanese word for 'divine wind,' which could refer to the potent sweet-sour mix of ingredients in the cocktail. As the drink's popularity did not take off until the 1970s, some suggest that it emerged from the disco scene of the time. However, the true inventor of the kamikaze remains unknown.


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