One of the first references to the Cosmopolitan is a gin, Cointreau, lemon, and raspberry syrup mix that was published in 1934 in the Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars 1903-1933. In the 1970’s, the Cosmopolitan that we know today is credited to a South Beach bartender named Cheryl Cook although as is typical with cocktail creations, many have laid claim to creating the Cosmo. Considered a riff on the classic Kamikaze; the original cocktail utilized a citrus-flavored vodka combined with orange liqueur and a splash of cranberry juice.
The classic Cosmopolitan is a very simple drink and it quickly became very popular, peaking in the 1990’s because of its multiple appearances in the HBO show, Sex and the City. Both by reference to that show and it’s girly pink color it’s synonymous with being a girls drink but I think that’s a shame. Made correctly it’s got a great citrus bite and is not overly sweet. Guys…if you’re eating quiche, you can SO do this too!
There are hundreds of variations on the Cosmo, some use more or less cranberry juice, some triple sec instead of Cointreau, and some include a citrus vodka like the original. I like to keep truer to the original and since I had just made some of my own orange infused vodka, I was set and I thought this vodka was perfect. Truth is, plain is fine too but if you’re buying some to make this cocktail, try Ketel One’s Oranje; I’ve had it and it’s good.
The original Cosmopolitan was a blush pink, not the bright red you so often get in bars and restaurants today. I’ve indicated a range in the amount of cranberry juice to use; I so prefer the less is more approach but if you like more? Go for it.
So have to share this little story with you. I wanted to rim the glass with something but didn’t want to bring out the ‘thou shalt NEVER rim a Cosmopolitan’ trolls so I did a search to see if I was way off base; if it was being done by bartenders. Big mistake; I just wanted to put something fun on the rim of a cocktail glass for crying out loud! In this instance Google thought I meant Cosmopolitan as in magazine and rimming as in something sexual. Ye-gads no! Do not go there, just trust me with my latest rimmer…powdered sugar!
The Perfect Cosmopolitan - A Classic Cocktail
The Classic Cosmopolitan Cocktail with Orange Infused Vodka
- 1 1/2 ounces vodka or citrus vodka
- 1 ounce orange liqueur
- 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
- 1/2 ounce cranberry juice
- Lime peel for garnish
- Chill glass.
- Remove glass from the freezer, rub the edge with a lime slice and dip it in powdered sugar that you've spread on a plate.
- Fill cocktail shaker with ice and pour in vodka, orange liqueur, lime juice and cranberry juice. Shake vigorously until the shaker is ice cold.
- Strain into the chilled glass.
- Garnish with a lime peel and serve.