Cosmopolitan

The iconic Cosmopolitan, a cocktail made with simple ingredients such as vodka, Cointreau, lime juice, and cranberry, has a vibrant color and a taste that’s dangerously easy to sip.

A Cosmopolitan cocktail in a martini glass with a twist of orange peel floating in it.

Consider your most memorable Cosmopolitan moment, whether a drunken epiphany or a happening while out with friends or even vicariously while watching the sassy ladies from Sex and the City. Now toss together this simple cocktail and see if you can’t make a new most memorable Cosmopolitan happening.–James Winter

Cosmopolitan FAQs

What is citron vodka?

Unlike lemon-flavored vodka (which can be made with any ingredients), citron vodka is generally made with pure lemon zest oil and no added sugar. This gives it a cleaner and more citrus-forward finish, which is important in a cocktail with only a few ingredients.

What’s the difference between Cointreau and Triple Sec? 

A cosmopolitan calls for Cointreau because the alcoholic volume (ABV) is close to that of vodka, balancing the flavors. You can substitute Grand Marnier easily, as it has the same ABV at 40% and is a good mix of sweet and bitter. You can use Triple Sec but, with an ABV between 20 and 40% depending on the brand, it might not be as well-rounded.

What is the history of the Cosmo?

From Wikipedia…”Bartender Neal Murray says he created the cosmopolitan in 1975 at the Cork & Cleaver steak house in Minneapolis. According to Murray, he added a splash of cranberry juice to a Kamikaze and the first taster declared, “How cosmopolitan.” This event supposedly led to the naming of the new beverage.” True or not, we like this story. The libation gained popularity again in the 90s, when we were all going crazy for anything in a martini glass.

Cosmopolitan

A Cosmopolitan cocktail in a martini glass with a twist of orange peel floating in it.
The iconic Cosmopolitan, a cocktail made with simple ingredients such as vodka, Cointreau, lime juice, and cranberry, has a vibrant color and a taste that’s dangerously easy to sip.
James Winter

Prep 5 mins
Total 5 mins
Drinks
American
1 servings
119 kcal
5 / 4 votes
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Equipment

  • Cocktail shaker

Ingredients 

  • 1 ounce citron vodka
  • 1/2 ounce Cointreau
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce cranberry juice
  • Ice cubes
  • Orange twist for garnish

Directions
 

  • Pour the vodka, Cointreau, lime juice, and cranberry juice in a cocktail shaker. Toss in some ice and vigorously shake.
  • Strain the pale pink Cosmopolitan into a martini glass, garnish with the twist, and serve.
Print RecipeBuy the Who Put the Beef in Wellington? cookbook

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Show Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 119kcal (6%)Carbohydrates: 7g (2%)Protein: 1g (2%)Fat: 1g (2%)Saturated Fat: 1g (6%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 2mgPotassium: 32mg (1%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 7g (8%)Vitamin A: 13IUVitamin C: 6mg (7%)Calcium: 3mgIron: 1mg (6%)

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This is the first time I’ve tasted a Cosmopolitan and I love it. It’s simple to make and very smooth going down. A nice refreshing drink that I can see myself making for guests during summer.

This is the quintessential Cosmopolitan—perfectly proportioned with a nice, sweet tang. I highly recommend purchasing 100% cranberry juice to elevate the flavor of this cocktail. Chilling your martini glass is a plus, too. Cheers!

This is now my “go-to” Cosmo recipe.

The proportions in the recipe are perfect, although I usually add an additional splash cranberry juice. I very much prefer the orange twist as a garnish rather than a lime wedge. I always use vodka l’orange because I like the fact that it further adds to the orange, which is a great combination with the lime and cranberry. Depending on your preference, a plain or vodka citron would also be appropriate.

My only complaint is that it makes just 1 serving. This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled in your cocktail shaker. All of the proportions would remain the same.

It’s always nice to have a cocktail recipe that works. I’ve enjoyed many Cosmopolitans in restaurants and bars, and this one is right up there. I think it’s the perfect blend of ingredients to warrant a really well-balanced Cosmopolitan.

I enjoyed it using Ketel One Citron and garnished it with an orange slice and a lime slice. For something a little different, I think this would be quite delicious using pomegranate vodka and POM juice.

Simple. Really good. Elegant in a martini glass. Fun. Definitely not what I usually drink, and not something that I would ever order out. However, I really enjoyed this and will be enjoying it again. Maybe this evening.

I think this has the right amount of all ingredients. It was refreshing, sweet, and just a little tart all at the same time. I’ve had as good—and much worse—at restaurants before. For a make-at-home version, this is a good go-to recipe.

Originally published May 9, 2014

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I’ve been craving a Cosmopolitan recently, but for one reason or another each night I’ve decided not to have a mixed drink. Tonight I grabbed the opportunity to try this. It’s now “My Perfect Ten Cosmopolitan.” See, I experiment with proportions to find the right balance for me for various cocktails, and now I need look no further for a go-to Cosmo recipe. Besides having the proportions that suit my taste, this recipe makes the right amount for me. The twist of a nice, fresh, sweet orange clinched it.

  2. Cosmo Moment: My Mother -in-Law was a chronic insomniac. We Cosmo drinking cocktail hour denizens decided we would give her a Cosmo every evening to see if it would help. She drank it down much too fast (being a Methodist Tea totaler and having no notion of how to drink) and proclaimed she felt very relaxed but WOOZY with her voice going up several alarming octaves on the last syllable of the word. Thus was born a Cosmo tradition of never having one again without proclaiming our WOOZY-ness.

  3. Some years ago a friend introduced me to a drink he like which was just a custom order of vodka with a splash of cranberry juice. One night I ordered it at a restaurant and the waiter said “so you want a cosmopolitan?” Who knew – I led a sheltered life. But I started drinking and completely and thoroughly enjoying them. Couldn’t order them around the kids – they would crawl under the table. Keg beer to them was the order of the day. Now I see this recipe. Got an dinner party coming up in a few weeks. Guess what I’ll be serving? Thanks David for the reminder!

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