Cosmopolitan Drink Recipe

Posted in Classics, Cocktails, Sours, Vodka on January 6, 2014

How to Make a Cosmopolitan

A cosmopolitan, also known as a "cosmo", is a cocktail made with vodka, cranberry juice, triple sec, orange peels, and lime.  Neither too tart or too sweet when made right, the cosmopolitan is perfect to throw together for one, or even in advance for a crowd.

recipe for cosmopolitan


One ounce of Cointreau

Half ounce of fresh lime juice

One and a half ounces of vodka

Splash of cranberry juice

Orange zest for garnish

The actual Cosmopolitan cocktail recipe - How to make a cosmo

First and foremost, remember to go easy on cranberry juice when it comes to this drink.  It's way too easy to go overboard with the cranberry juice when making the cosmo, which is where most of the disparaged opinions of the drink come from.  The cranberry juice is there mainly for color, and not a major ingredient when it comes to flavor.  To actually make the drink, simply mix the components in an ice-cold shaker and shake until cold, and sprinkle the orange zest over the surface of the drink before dropping it into the glass.

When selecting the vodka, go for something mid to high range.  I personally use either Stolichnaya or Absolut Citron, but use whatever suits your tastes.  To maximize taste, use fresh lime juice and orange peels.  Although the orange peels feel superfluous, they actually add a mild zing and sweetness, enhancing the taste of vodka. Also keep in mind that it's very easy to go overboard with the cranberry juice, so try to only use a splash.  Be careful about the actual brand of the cranberry juice itself, since most of the ones in your local supermarket are laden with high-fructose corn syrup, which can interfere with the flavor of the drink.

The cosmopolitan is mostly famous due to its frequent mention on Sex and the City, where the main characters often ordered the drink when while out in bars.  While often thought of as a more recent creation due to the cultural diffusion from the show, the cosmopolitan has existed in many similar recipes since the early 20th century.   Swap the vodka base for something else, and you get a whole slew of new, interesting drinks based on the concept.  Personally, the cosmopolitan cocktail is a drink that I'm pretty iffy on, but I would drink it without hesitation if I were to make it at home.  On the other hand, it's a drink that I would never order when I'm out at a bar with friends.  However, if you were to swap the vodka for say, Tequila, I would hop on board immediately!!

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