Kamikaze Cocktail

Kamikaze cocktail in tall chilled glasses with lime wedges on rims

The Spruce Eats / Abbey Littlejohn

Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 3 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 cocktail
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
213 Calories
0g Fat
24g Carbs
1g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 213
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 4mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 24g 9%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 10g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 48mg 241%
Calcium 49mg 4%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 174mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The kamikaze is an iconic bar drink that has been around since the mid-20th century. It's one of the best-known vodka "martinis" and offers a sweet-tart taste that many drinkers enjoy. In fact, it's such a popular mix that there's also a kamikaze shooter and several variations to explore.

When looking at the recipe, you'll notice connections between the kamikaze and other famous cocktails. It is, quite simply, a vodka margarita, very similar to the original daiquiri, and the cosmopolitan was initially created as a cranberry kamikaze. Like those recipes, this cocktail uses just a few simple ingredients: vodka, triple sec, and lime juice. It's a fine balance of flavors that, when mixed correctly, is invigorating and has a fascinating bite to bring you back for another sip.


Click Play to See This Kamikaze Cocktail Recipe Come Together

"Vodka splashed onto the American cocktail scene with its fabled lack of flavor in the late '60s and early '70s. The kamikaze is a gem from this era. This recipe captures the greatness of simplicity and synergy involved in cocktail making. It’s the perfect blend of lime, orange cordial, and vodka." —Sean Johnson

Kamikaze Cocktail Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 1/2 ounces vodka

  • 1 ounce triple sec

  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice

  • Lime wedge, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for kamikaze cocktail recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Abbey Littlejohn

  2. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes, pour the vodka, triple sec, and lime juice.

    Cocktail shaker with ice cubes, vodka, lime juice, and triple sec

    The Spruce Eats / Abbey Littlejohn

  3. Shake well.

    Cocktail shaker being shaken

    The Spruce Eats/ Abbey Littlejohn

  4. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

    Cocktail being strained into chilled cocktail glass

    The Spruce Eats / Abbey Littlejohn

  5. Garnish with a lime wedge. Serve and enjoy.

     Kamikaze cocktails in chilled glasses with lime wedges

    The Spruce Eats / Abbey Littlejohn


  • This is a cocktail where you want to pour the smoothest vodka in your bar. Use premium vodkas that you would typically enjoy on their own or in a vodka martini.
  • Ensure that the quality of the triple sec matches that of your vodka. Spend a little more on a top-shelf brand; a high-end curaçao works as well.
  • Fresh lime juice definitely produces a better-tasting kamikaze. You should be able to get 1 ounce of juice out of a whole lime and can simply squeeze it directly into the shaker.

Recipe Variations

  • Adjust the ratio to suit your taste. For instance, you might like a little more lime and prefer your kamikaze with 1 1/2 ounces of lime juice and just 1/2 ounce of the orange liqueur. Some people prefer it with equal parts of the three ingredients.
  • Turn the kamikaze a pretty blue color by pouring blue curaçao instead of triple sec.
  • Try flavored vodka; almost any fruit infusion works, including berry, citrus, coconut, and pineapple. Vanilla vodka works well, too; it'll make it similar to the key lime pie martini without the pineapple.
  • Another popular variation is a "SoCo" kamikaze, in which the vodka is replaced with Southern Comfort.

Where Was the Kamikaze Invented?

The kamikaze's origins can be traced to an American naval base in Japan after World War II. It didn't become really popular until the 1970s, though. In his book "Cocktail" (which inspired the Tom Cruise movie), writer Heywood Gould calls it a classic disco-era cocktail invented by teenagers. For years, the kamikaze was primarily served as a shot and often employed sweetened lime juice (particularly Rose's). Bartenders eventually found that fresh lime juice creates a more enjoyable mix, and the cocktail version became a popular addition to modern martini menus.

Why Is It Called a Kamikaze Drink?

In Japanese, the word kamikaze translates to "divine wind." It initially referred to the typhoon that the Mongols were met with while trying to invade Japan in the 13th century. It's also often erroneously attributed to a name used by the Japanese military for its pilots and their missions—although it seems they later adopted the phrase despite the fact that the word used for their pilots was slightly different. It's most likely that the drink took on the name due to its origins in Japan, bold flavors, and alcohol kick.

How Strong Is a Kamikaze Cocktail?

The kamikaze is among the strongest cocktails, weighing in around 25 percent ABV (50 proof). That's typical of drinks in this style and over half the strength of the vodka itself. If you want to avoid a hangover, think twice about mixing up another round.