Cosmopolitan Cocktail – Oh So Pretty in Pink

Cosmopolitan, or Cosmo between friends, is considered one of the best cocktails of our time. (Rolling my eyes here…) Made ever so popular by the ladies of Sex and the City, this pink drink was THE drink of the late 90s and early noughties. Personally, I have never seen the appeal – there are much better cocktails to choose from. But I might be in the minority, as Cosmos are making their way back onto the bar scene (thanks millennials and Gen Z!). Cosmopolitan Day is also celebrated on the 7th May.

Who’s idea was it?

Cosmopolitan can be dated back to 1968 when the Ocean Spray cranberry juice brand was looking for ways to inspire adults to drink their juice. They simply added a drink recipe on their juice cartons. The cocktail was called Harpoon and it consisted of Ocean Spray cranberry juice, vodka (or rum), lime cordial and soda. After Harpoon, many bartenders started to experiment with various takes on the recipe, therefore it is hard to confirm who eventually settled on the original recipe of vodka, cranberry, fresh lime and Cointreau, or who came up with the name Cosmopolitan. Many conclusions are simply based on gossip.

Cosmopolitan cocktail

Most research approves Cheryl Cook from Florida as the bartender who, in the late 80s, created a Cosmo with Absolut Citron vodka. She has said the name Cosmopolitan came from the desire to create a drink that expressed the style of Cosmopolitan magazine and suited the Miami crowds. In her recipe she also used triple sec, lime cordial and a touch of cranberry juice to make the colour “oh so pretty in pink”, a quote since used by Absolut.

There’s some doubt whether she ever existed, and more credit for Cosmo’s popularity is given to a man named John Caine. He had seen variations of the cocktail in the 1970s in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Provincetown at the time was a popular gay destination, but also right next door to the biggest cranberry-producing areas. Later on, Caine opened his own bar in San Francisco, where he introduced the cocktail to an even bigger gay community. Another man behind the modern recipe is said to be Toby Cecchini, who improved the recipe by replacing the lime cordial with fresh lime. Eventually, the drink spread across the US and finally made it into the mainstream after Madonna was pictured with a Cosmo in her hand and Carrie Bradshaw ordered one in the second season of SATC (and many more times thereafter).


How to make it:

50ml Citrus vodka
25ml Cointreau (or triple sec)
15ml Fresh lime juice
Splash of cranberry juice
(Flamed) Orange peel

Shake all ingredients with ice and double strain into a chilled Martini glass. Take a round cut of orange peel and, holding a lighter between the peel and the surface of the cocktail, squeeze the oils so they pass through the flame and onto the drink’s surface. Wipe the rim of the glass with the orange peel and drop it in the drink.

Perhaps I need to give this classic a second chance… Pink is kind of my thing, after all…

What are your thoughts on Cosmopolitans? Do you ever order one?


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