Cosmopolitan Cocktail


By Timo Torner / Last updated on August 4, 2022 
For the 80s and early 90s kids like me, the Cosmopolitan was one of the most popular cocktails of their youth. 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, the Cosmopolitan would most likely have been the only cocktail I would have been able to name. 

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

You could not get around it - regardless of having been a fan of the series or not. No bartending shift was complete without preparing dozens of Cosmos for thirsty customers. 

Cosmopolitan SATC

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

Being a Martini-type drink, the Cosmo usually comes in a Martini glass. But who invented the cocktail, and what kind of ingredients do you need to make it at home?

History of the Cosmopolitan cocktail

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

Who invented the Cosmopolitan?

Number one of said three bartenders is Dale DeGroff. During his tenure at NYC bar "Rainbow room," he's said to have created the very first Cosmopolitan. 

Others credit NYC bartender Toby Cecchini with the invention of the cocktail. And if not as the inventor, Cecchini for sure was one of the accelerators of the cocktail's success.

Cosmopolitan Cocktail

And 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 in the San Francisco Chronicle. He also got featured in countless magazines and books. He claims that the original recipe for the Cosmopolitan comes from Miami. 

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

This story got further support in the early 2000s when Dale DeGroff explained that he did definitely 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)

And whichever story is true, the cocktail had everything a drink needed in this era. 

Vodka cocktails were everywhere, and, also, the use of cranberry juice in cocktails has never been as popular as it was back in the 90s. -Luckily for those who have outgrown the cranberry flavors, the Cosmo only asks for a splash of the bright red fruit juice.

Ingredients to make a great Cosmo

As mentioned before, Toby Cecchini played a crucial role in making the cocktail popular. 

His recipe used lemon-flavored Vodka instead of a regular neutral one. The other ingredients for his take on the Cosmo are cranberry juice, freshly squeezed lime juice, and Cointreau.

Cosmo with limes and Cointreau

If you want to use the same ingredients as Cecchini did, here they are:

He opted for Absolut's Citron Vodka and cranberry juice from Ocean Spray - the company that had a hand in the game for the Sea Breeze Cocktail.

But other quality lemon-flavored Vodkas work perfectly, too. I, for instance, like to use Ketel One Citroen Vodka.

As for the Triple Sec, I also prefer Cointreau. It's my go-to option for Triple Sec in cocktails, and you will find it in many recipes like the Between the Sheets Cocktail, the Margarita, the Long Island, and many more.

If you want more inspiration, take a look at our list of our favorite Cointreau Cocktails. 

Cosmopolitan Cocktail


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


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


  • 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.


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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