Cosmopolitan cocktail with lime wedge on light green background

Cosmopolitan

By Sina Torner / Last updated on November 21, 2022 

First published on October 22, 2021 

For kids of the 80s, the Cosmopolitan is one of the most popular cocktails. This legendary pink-hued drink usually comes in a Martini glass garnished with a citrus peel or wheel.

The Cosmopolitan or "Cosmo" became world-famous in the 90s. Back then, as a kid of the late 80s, it was most likely the only cocktail I would have been able to name had anyone asked.

It was the go-to drink of the cult series "Sex and the City" and the favorite drink of Carrie Bradshaw, the main character. Soon became one of the most popular drinks outside the TV show.

Regardless of whether you were a fan of the series or not; There was no getting away from it. No bartending shift was complete without preparing dozens of Cosmos for thirsty customers.

During its peak in popularity, you could find countless riffs on the classic Cosmopolitan recipe. These days, the hype has faded, but the drink is far from forgotten.

Jump to Recipe | Ingredients | How to make | History | DeGroff's statement | More cocktail recipes

Ingredients to make a great Cosmo

You need no more than four ingredients to make a fantastic Cosmopolitan cocktail:

  • Vodka: You can use any bottle of regular quality Vodka for this cocktail. However, the popular recipe of Toby Cecchini calls for a lemon-flavored version. -He used Absolut's Citron Vodka. Also, our Cosmopolitan recipe includes lemon flavored Vodka, but we like to use Ketel One Citroen.
  • Triple Sec: Our go-to bottle for Triple Sec in cocktails is Cointreau, a premium product from France. It's simply the best, and you can later use it for recipes like the Between the Sheets Cocktailthe Margarita, the Long Island, and many more.
  • Cranberry juice is the third component. I recommend the product from Ocean Spray - the company that had a hand in the game for the Sea Breeze Cocktail.
  • And finally, freshly squeezed lime juice.

How to make it

Being a Martini-type drink, the Cosmo usually comes neat in a chilled Martini glass. To make it perfect, follow these simple steps:

  • Step 1: Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with two hands full of ice.
  • Step 2: Shake for 10 - 15 seconds until the contents are well-chilled. The shaker tins should feel icy on the outside.
  • Step 3: Strain into a chilled Martini glass and garnish with a lime wheel. Cheers!
Four Cosmopolitan drinks in Martini garnished with lime wedges

History

The Cosmo first popped up sometime in the mid to late 80s. By whom is not 100% certain, though. However, most sources credit one of three different bartenders as possible inventors of this 90s classic:

Number one is Dale DeGroff. He's said to have created the very first Cosmopolitan during his tenure at the bar Rainbow room in NYC.

Others name NYC bartender Toby Cecchini with the invention of the cocktail. Even if he wasn't, Cecchini for sure was one of the accelerators of the cocktail's success.

Cosmopolitan on wooden table

Finally, according to legendary barkeeper Gary Regan, the initial creator was someone else entirely. Gary Regan was a true master of mixology and had his own column in the San Francisco Chronicle. According to him, bartender Cheryl Cook made the first version of the cocktail in 1985 in Miami South Beach, served in a Martini glass.

DeGroff's statement about the Cosmopolitan

The third story found further support in the early 2000s when Dale DeGroff explained that he definitely did not invent the Cosmopolitan. But he admitted that he sees himself as one of the key actors:

What I did do was popularize a definitive recipe that became widely accepted as the standard.

Dale DeGroff, "The Craft of the Cocktail" (2002)

Whichever story is true, the cocktail had everything a drink needed in this era. Vodka cocktails were everywhere, and using cranberry juice in cocktails has never been as popular as it was in the 90s.

More Cocktails

If you want some inspiration on how else to make use of the ingredients you got for this Cosmopolitan cocktail recipe, here are some ideas:

Cosmopolitan Cocktail

Cosmopolitan

A Martini-style cocktail based on lemon-flavored Vodka that became world-famous due to Carry Bradshaw and her friends from "Sex and the City".
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cointreau, cranberries, lime juice, vodka
Servings: 1
Calories: 185kcal
Cost: $2.60

Ingredients

  • 1 oz Ketel One Citroen Vodka
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • 1.5 oz Cranberry juice
  • 0.5 oz Lime juice

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice.
    1 oz Ketel One Citroen Vodka, 1 oz Cointreau, 1.5 oz Cranberry juice, 0.5 oz Lime juice
  • Shake until the drink is well-chilled and strain into a chilled Martini glass.
  • Optionally garnish with a lime wheel or peel.

Nutrition

Serving: 4.25oz | Calories: 185kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 0.2g | Fat: 0.02g | Sodium: 1.5mg | Potassium: 58mg | Sugar: 14.85g | Vitamin C: 9.95mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 0.25mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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