Cosmopolitan (cocktail)

IBA Official Cocktail
A cosmopolitan.
Type Cocktail
Primary alcohol by volume
Served Straight up; without ice
Standard garnish

Lemon slice, lime wedge

Standard drinkware
Cocktail Glass (Martini).svg
Cocktail glass
IBA specified ingredients*
Preparation Add all ingredients into cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and double strain into large cocktail glass. Garnish with lime wheel.
Notes The drink should be a frothy bright pink colour
* Cosmopolitan recipe at International Bartenders Association

A cosmopolitan is a cocktail made with vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice, and freshly squeezed lime juice or sweetened lime juice. Informally, it is referred to as a Cosmo.



According to the International Bartenders Association the original recipe is based on vodka citron, lemon-flavored vodka.[1] The cosmopolitan is a relative of cranberry coolers like the Cape Codder.[2] Though often presented far differently, the cosmopolitan also bears a likeness in composition to the kamikaze cocktail.

The origins of the cosmopolitan are somewhat disputed. It is likely that the drink was created independently by different bartenders since the 1970s.[3] It is generally recognized that John Caine brought the drink to San Francisco around 1987[4] from Minnesota.[4][5] The same year in Manhattan, the internationally recognized version of the cocktail was created by Toby Cecchini,[6] based on a poorly described version of Cheryl Cook's creation.[6]

The 1970s


One version of the creation of this popular drink credits the accomplishment to the gay community in Provincetown, Massachusetts.[3]

Neal Murray

An alternate account names the creator as Neal Murray of the Cork & Cleaver steakhouse in Minneapolis in 1975.[5]

John Caine

John Caine, owner of several popular bars in San Francisco and cosmopolitan expert, partially credits the upsurge in cocktails during the 1970s to the Cosmo being served at fern bars.[3]

Cheryl Cook

A commonly cited story concerning the origins of this drink links South Beach, Florida bartender Cheryl Cook with the original creation.[2][3] Some people think that Cook is a mythical character,[3][6] but in an online interview,[6] Cook related the story of how she created the drink in 1985 or 1986:

What overwhelmed me was the number of people who ordered Martinis just to be seen with a Martini glass in their hand. It was on this realization that gave me the idea to create a drink that everyone could palate and was visually stunning in that classic glass. This is what the Cosmo was based on.

Her original recipes called for "Absolut Citron, a splash of Triple Sec, a drop of Roses lime and just enough cranberry to make it oh so pretty in pink."[6]

However, Absolut Citron was not introduced anywhere until 1988.

Pink Lemonade Pink

Another important person involved in the creation of the drink was Melissa Huffsmith of Manhattan. While working at The Odeon in 1987/1988, Her friend Patrick Mullen had tasted a version of it in Miami and she developed a slightly different version using Absolut Citron, Cointreau and fresh-squeezed lime juice, and that the color should be "....just barely pink - the color of pink lemonade." Huffsmith's version has become an internationally standardized method for preparing the drink.[1]


My first Cosmo.jpg

The cosmopolitan gained popularity fairly quickly, traveling from Provincetown, through New York, Cleveland, and Cincinnati, and on to San Francisco (Caine[4]) or possibly from Miami to San Francisco, and on to New York (Cook[6]).

The cosmopolitan gained popularity in the 1990s. According to Brian Gougherty, the cosmo was further popularized among young women by its frequent mention on the television program Sex and the City, where Sarah Jessica Parker's character, Carrie Bradshaw, commonly ordered the drink when out with her girlfriends. The film adaptation made a reference to its popularity when Miranda asks why they stopped drinking them, Carrie replies 'because everyone else started.'

It is not only in television that the cosmo has influenced popular culture. Demeter Fragrance Library has created a cologne intended to smell like the cosmopolitan cocktail.

A cosmopolitan

Preparation and serving

The cosmopolitan is usually served in a large cocktail glass, also called a martini glass. For this reason, the drink is sometimes mistakenly categorized as a type of martini.

Mix 2 parts lemon vodka to one part triple sec combined with one part cranberry and the juice of half a lime. Cointreau or other high-quality triple sec provides a cleaner taste than cheaper triple sec, and is generally substituted in the cosmopolitan. The cranberry mainly adds colour and should not excessively dilute the drink.

A lemon twist is sometimes used to garnish. Traditionally a coin sized piece of orange should be "flamed" across the top of the drink. This coats the drink with a slick of citrus oil. Currently, it is popular to see a Cosmopolitan garnished with a lime wedge.


  • One variation is to squeeze a lime wedge into the chilled cocktail glass instead of including it with the ingredients to be shaken.
  • The original non-IBA versions used Rose's lime cordial instead of fresh lime juice, and Triple Sec instead of Cointreau, and uses different proportions[1]
  • A blue cosmopolitan may be made by using white cranberry juice instead of standard red juice, and blue curaçao in place of the triple sec.
  • A Cosmocello substitutes limoncello for the lime juice.
  • Another variation calls for stirring in a mixing glass, instead of shaking.[7]
  • A Peach Cosmopolitan substitutes peach schnapps for triple sec and peach juice for the cranberry

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Official Cocktail recipe: Cosmopolitan". International Bartenders Association. Retrieved 2007-05-02. 
  2. ^ a b Grimes, William (November 2001). Straight Up Or On the Rocks: The Story of the American Cocktail. North Point Press. p. 119 . Online source viewable at The Big Apple blog by Barry Popik.
  3. ^ a b c d e Harrington, Paul; Moorhead, Laura (1998). Cocktail: The Drinks for the 21st Century. New York: Viking (Penguin Putnam Inc.). p. 76 . Online source viewable at The Big Apple blog by Barry Popik.
  4. ^ a b c Kilduff, Paul. "Belly Up to the Bar: John Caine brought the cosmo to Frisco". The Kilduff Archive. The Monthly: The East Bay's Premier Magazine of Culture and Commerce. Retrieved 2008-05-20. 
  5. ^ a b "Best Locally Created Cocktail". Best of the Twin Cities 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Regan, Gary; Mardee Haidin Regan (October 2006). "The Birth of the Cosmopolitan: A Tale of Two Bartenders". Ardent Spirits e-letter. Vol. 7, Issue 6. Archived from the original on 2007-07-07. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  7. ^ "Cosmopolitan Drink Recipe". Spirit Drinks. Retrieved 2010-07-01. 

External links

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