Cosmopolitan Cocktail Drink

Cosmopolitan Cocktail – Make the perfect Cosmo Drink

A shot of Gavin Wrigley looking to the camera in a dimly lit room
Written by Gavin Wrigley
Andrea
Tested by
Andrea Ottaiano

Need a cocktail that’s no fuss? This Cosmopolitan recipe has ingredients that make creating this drink straightforward and enjoyable.

Cosmopolitan Cocktail Recipe

This Cosmopolitan recipe is quick to make and delicious! It's a great choice for a casual or elegant gathering.

Prep time:

1 minute

Mixing time:

1 minute

Servings:

1

Calories:

158 kl

Ingredients

  • oz Citron Vodka
  • 1 oz cranberry juice
  • ½ oz Triple Sec
  • ½ oz fresh lime juice
  • Ice cubes
  • Orange twist, for garnish, optional

Equipment

  • Martini Glass
  • Measuring Jigger
  • Shaker
  • Strainer & Fine-strainer

Instructions

  • Chill Glass: Place your martini glass in the freezer to chill or ice it up with ice.
  • Add Vodka: In the shaker measure and pour 1½ oz Citron Vodka.
  • Add Triple Sec: Pour ½ oz Triple Sec.
  • Add Cranberry Juice: Measure and add 1 oz cranberry juice to the mix.
  • Add Lime Juice: Finish by adding ½ oz fresh lime juice to the mix
  • Add Ice: Fill your cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
  • Shake Well: Shake the ingredients vigorously for about 15 seconds.
  • Strain into Glass: Fine-strain the mixture into the chilled martini glass.
  • Garnish: Garnish with an orange twist.
  • Serve: Sip your Cosmopolitan and enjoy! Cheers!

Notes

Substitutes:

  • Citron Vodka: When I don't have citron vodka, I use gin; it adds a botanical flavor to the drink.
  • Triple Sec: I've replaced triple sec with equal Cointreau or Grand Marnier when needed; both work well, giving a slightly different citrus note.
  • Cranberry Juice: Pomegranate juice is my go-to when cranberry juice is unavailable; it's tart and sweet, just like cranberry juice.

Making a Pitcher of Cosmopolitan:

  • Scale: Multiply all the ingredients by 8 to serve 8. So, 12 oz of vodka, 8 oz of cranberry juice, 4 oz of triple sec, and 4 oz of fresh lime juice.
  • Mix: Combine all the ingredients in a large pitcher and stir well.
  • Serve: Pour into individual chilled martini glasses, garnish with a lime twist, and serve immediately.

Making it Non-Alcoholic:

  • Vodka Substitute: Use a non-alcoholic vodka substitute or plain soda water.
  • Proceed As Usual: Replace the regular vodka with the non-alcoholic substitute and follow the original steps to enjoy a non-alcoholic Cosmopolitan.

Making it Vegan:

  • Check Ingredients: Ensure that the cranberry juice and other ingredients are free from animal products or by-products.
  • Use Vegan Substitutes: If any ingredient is non-vegan, find a vegan substitute, like using agave nectar instead of honey if sweetening is needed.
  • Proceed As Usual: After ensuring all ingredients are vegan, follow the original.

Nutrition Facts

Calories
158
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
0.1
g
0
%
Saturated Fat
 
0.02
g
0
%
Sodium
 
2
mg
0
%
Carbohydrates
 
9
g
3
%
Fiber
 
0.1
g
0
%
Sugar
 
8
g
9
%
Potassium
 
43
mg
1
%
Protein
 
0.2
g
0
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
0.03
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
0.01
g
Vitamin A
 
20
IU
0
%
Vitamin C
 
7
mg
8
%
Calcium
 
4
mg
0
%
Iron
 
0.1
mg
1
%

 

Cosmopolitan Cocktail Drink

Cosmopolitan Cocktail Recipe

Gavin Wrigley Written by Gavin Wrigley
Jump to Video
This Cosmopolitan recipe is quick to make and delicious! It's a great choice for a casual or elegant gathering.
Prep time: 1 minute
Mixing time: 1 minute
Servings: 1
Calories: 158

Ingredients
 

  • oz Citron Vodka
  • 1 oz cranberry juice
  • ½ oz Triple Sec
  • ½ oz fresh lime juice
  • Ice cubes
  • Orange twist - for garnish, optional

Equipment

  • Martini Glass
  • Measuring Jigger
  • Shaker
  • Strainer & Fine-strainer

Instructions

  • Chill Glass: Place your martini glass in the freezer to chill or ice it up with ice.
  • Add Vodka: In the shaker measure and pour 1½ oz Citron Vodka.
  • Add Triple Sec: Pour ½ oz Triple Sec.
  • Add Cranberry Juice: Measure and add 1 oz cranberry juice to the mix.
  • Add Lime Juice: Finish by adding ½ oz fresh lime juice to the mix
  • Add Ice: Fill your cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
  • Shake Well: Shake the ingredients vigorously for about 15 seconds.
  • Strain into Glass: Fine-strain the mixture into the chilled martini glass.
  • Garnish: Garnish with an orange twist.
  • Serve: Sip your Cosmopolitan and enjoy! Cheers!

Notes

Substitutes:

  • Citron Vodka: When I don't have citron vodka, I use gin; it adds a botanical flavor to the drink.
  • Triple Sec: I've replaced triple sec with equal Cointreau or Grand Marnier when needed; both work well, giving a slightly different citrus note.
  • Cranberry Juice: Pomegranate juice is my go-to when cranberry juice is unavailable; it's tart and sweet, just like cranberry juice.

Making a Pitcher of Cosmopolitan:

  • Scale: Multiply all the ingredients by 8 to serve 8. So, 12 oz of vodka, 8 oz of cranberry juice, 4 oz of triple sec, and 4 oz of fresh lime juice.
  • Mix: Combine all the ingredients in a large pitcher and stir well.
  • Serve: Pour into individual chilled martini glasses, garnish with a lime twist, and serve immediately.

Making it Non-Alcoholic:

  • Vodka Substitute: Use a non-alcoholic vodka substitute or plain soda water.
  • Proceed As Usual: Replace the regular vodka with the non-alcoholic substitute and follow the original steps to enjoy a non-alcoholic Cosmopolitan.

Making it Vegan:

  • Check Ingredients: Ensure that the cranberry juice and other ingredients are free from animal products or by-products.
  • Use Vegan Substitutes: If any ingredient is non-vegan, find a vegan substitute, like using agave nectar instead of honey if sweetening is needed.
  • Proceed As Usual: After ensuring all ingredients are vegan, follow the original.

What is a Cosmopolitan cocktail?

A Cosmopolitan cocktail combines vodka, cranberry juice, triple sec, and fresh lime juice. Many recognize it for its color and its association with the ’90s TV show “Sex and the City.” People often call it “Cosmo” for short. It’s known for being sweet, tart, and refreshing, making it a popular choice in bars and restaurants. The International Bartenders Association (IBA) has officially recognized the Cosmopolitan as a “Contemporary Classic,” a status it has held since 2011.

A side shot of a Cosmopolitan cocktail in a martini glass on a white marmol table with two orange slices on the side.

What is a Cosmopolitan drink made of – The ingredients

To make a cosmo, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Citron Vodka: Provides the base spirit for the cocktail, adding a clean, smooth citrus taste.
  • Cranberry Juice: Offers a sweet and tart flavor, contributing to the drink’s signature pink color.
  • Triple Sec: A type of orange-flavored liqueur, it adds a sweet citrusy note to the mix.
  • Fresh Lime Juice: Balances the sweetness with its acidity, enhancing the overall flavor profile.

Vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice and lime juice laid out on a white bar table.

How do you make a Cosmopolitan?

Follow our detailed guide to learn how to craft a Cosmo step by step:

1
<p>Start by placing your martini glass in the freezer or by filling it up with ice cubes, to chill it.</p>

Start by placing your martini glass in the freezer or by filling it up with ice cubes, to chill it.

2
<p>Pour citron vodka into your shaker,  serving the backbone of your cocktail.</p>

Pour citron vodka into your shaker, serving the backbone of your cocktail.

3
<p>Add Triple Sec, introducing the orange flavor.</p>

Add Triple Sec, introducing the orange flavor.

4
<p>Pour Cranberry juice, delivering the famous pinkish color.</p>

Pour Cranberry juice, delivering the famous pinkish color.

5
<p>Squeeze and add to the mix the lime juice, giving the final citrus touch.</p>

Squeeze and add to the mix the lime juice, giving the final citrus touch.

6
<p>Add ice cubes, ensuring a chilled mixture.</p>

Add ice cubes, ensuring a chilled mixture.

7
<p>Shake the ingredients together vigorously for about 15 seconds to mix them well.</p>

Shake the ingredients together vigorously for about 15 seconds to mix them well.

8
<p>Remove ice cubes from your chilled martini glass.</p>

Remove ice cubes from your chilled martini glass.

9
<p>Fine-strain the mixture into your empty and chilled martini glass, keeping out the ice.</p>

Fine-strain the mixture into your empty and chilled martini glass, keeping out the ice.

10
<p>Twist an orange peel to spray the drink with the orange juice</p>

Twist an orange peel to spray the drink with the orange juice

11
<p>Place the orange twist in the drink as garnish.</p>

Place the orange twist in the drink as garnish.

12
<p>Enjoy your refreshing Cosmopolitan cocktail!</p>

Enjoy your refreshing Cosmopolitan cocktail!

What is the difference between a Martini and a Cosmopolitan?

A Martini traditionally consists of gin and dry vermouth, while a Cosmopolitan combines vodka, cranberry juice, triple sec, and fresh lime juice. This ingredient difference leads to contrasting flavor profiles; a Martini offers a strong herbal taste, and a Cosmopolitan provides a sweet and tart flavor.

Additionally, the serving style varies; bartenders serve Martinis with olives or a lemon twist for garnish, typically in a martini glass, whereas a Cosmopolitan usually features a lime twist for garnish in a chilled martini glass. The preparation method also contrasts; Martinis requires stirring with ice and then straining into a glass, but you make a Cosmopolitan by shaking the ingredients with ice and then straining them.

Lastly, the Martini holds a longer history, tracing back to the 1800s, while the Cosmopolitan gained popularity much later, around the 1990s. 

How to serve a Cosmopolitan Cocktail with a flamed Orange peel

Adding a flamed orange peel to your Cosmopolitan can elevate the drink’s aroma and flavor. Start by selecting a fresh orange and cleaning it thoroughly. Use a vegetable peeler or a sharp knife to cut a wide peel strip, being cautious to avoid the bitter white pith. Hold a lit match or lighter between the drink and the peel, about an inch above the cocktail. Position the orange peel over the flame, skin side down, and give it a good twist to release the oils. You’ll see the oils pass through the flame and land on the drink’s surface, creating a wonderful aroma and adding a subtle, complex flavor. After flaming, you can drop the peel into the Cosmopolitan or place it on the rim of the glass as a garnish, adding a professional touch to your homemade cocktail.

Cointreau or Triple Sec for your Cosmo?

When crafting a Cosmopolitan, the choice between Cointreau and Triple Sec impacts the overall flavor of the cocktail. Cointreau is a premium orange liqueur with a refined and balanced flavor, offering a perfect blend of sweet and bitter orange peels. It’s known for its versatility and superior quality, making it a favorite among many bartenders and mixologists. On the other hand, Triple Sec is a type of orange-flavored liqueur, and while it’s also versatile, it tends to be sweeter and less nuanced than Cointreau. Some well-known brands of Triple Sec include DeKuyper and Luxardo. While Cointreau and Triple Sec can make a delicious Cosmopolitan, opting for Cointreau can add a touch of sophistication and a more rounded flavor profile to the drink.

A Cosmopolitan cocktail, shot from above, in a martini glass on a white marmol table with two orange slices behind.

Tip for choosing the best Vodka for the perfect Cosmopolitan Cocktail

Choosing the right vodka is pivotal when mixing a Cosmopolitan. A popular choice is Absolut Citron, a citrus-flavored vodka that adds a zesty kick, enhancing the cocktail’s overall flavor. Another excellent option is Grey Goose, known for its smoothness and clarity, which can make your Cosmopolitan feel more refined. If you prefer something more straightforward, Smirnoff, with its neutral and versatile profile, is a reliable choice that works well with the other ingredients. For those who appreciate a hint of luxury, Belvedere offers a rich and velvety texture that can elevate your Cosmopolitan to new heights. While all these brands bring something unique, I suggest going with Absolut Citron. 

Cosmo Mocktail – Use Cranberry Juice and sweeten with syrup

Creating a Virgin Cosmopolitan is a breeze and a refreshing option for those who prefer a non-alcoholic beverage. Start by replacing the vodka with a non-alcoholic vodka or soda water to maintain the drink’s crispness. A simple orange syrup or an orange-flavored non-alcoholic syrup can add citrusy sweetness to the triple sec. Keep the cranberry juice and the fresh lime juice as they are since they are non-alcoholic and contribute to the signature taste of the Cosmopolitan. Mix all these ingredients well, and you’ll have a delightful Virgin Cosmopolitan that’s both tart and sweet, maintaining the essence of the original cocktail without the alcohol.

Cosmopolitan Drink Variations

Looking for more variations? Here are a few of our favorites:

  • White Cosmo: This twist incorporates white cranberry juice, offering a lighter and slightly less tart taste, creating a more refined experience.
  • Raspberry Cosmo: By adding raspberry liqueur, this modification delivers a burst of berry flavor, enhancing the overall sweetness and fruitiness.
  • Mango Cosmo: Infused with mango liqueur, it provides a tropical flair and a unique, exotic sweetness to the traditional mix.
  • Elderflower Cosmo: Incorporating elderflower liqueur introduces a floral note and a subtle sweetness, making it a refreshing and elegant choice.
  • Pomegranate Cosmo: With pomegranate juice, this alternative offers a rich, sweet, and tangy flavor profile, adding a touch of sophistication.
  • Peach Cosmo: Including peach schnapps brings a sweet and fruity peach note, giving a summery and refreshing feel.
  • Lemon Drop Cosmo: Featuring lemon-flavored vodka adds a zesty lemon note, brightening the overall taste.
  • Blue Cosmo: Utilizing blue curaçao, it boasts a striking blue color and a sweet orange flavor, making it visually and tastefully appealing.
  • Spicy Cosmo: Infused with jalapeño, it introduces a spicy kick, adding an exciting and bold layer to the palate.
  • Cranberry Spice Cosmo: Incorporating spiced rum, it brings warm, spicy undertones, perfect for those who enjoy a hint of adventure.
  • Chocolate Cosmo: Adding chocolate liqueur offers a rich and indulgent chocolate note, creating a dessert-like indulgence.
  • Coconut Cosmo: With coconut vodka, it provides a tropical and creamy coconut flavor, making it a delightful and exotic option.
  • Pineapple Cosmo: Pineapple juice introduces a sweet and tart tropical taste, enhancing the refreshing attributes.
  • Ginger Cosmo: Infused with ginger liqueur, it brings a spicy and warm ginger note, adding a zingy and exciting twist.
  • Cucumber Mint Cosmo: Incorporating cucumber and mint delivers a cool and refreshing taste, making it a revitalizing and crisp selection.

A side shot of a Cosmopolitan cocktail in a martini glass on a silver coaster placed on a white marmol table with two orange slices on the side.

History and Origins of the Cosmopolitan

The history of the Cosmopolitan is somewhat disputed, with multiple claims to its origin. One claim attributes the creation of the Cosmopolitan to bartender Cheryl Cook in the 1980s in South Beach, Florida. Cheryl aimed to create a visually stunning and sophisticated drink, using Absolut Citron, a newly-released citrus-flavored vodka, combined with a splash of triple sec, a drop of Rose’s Lime, and just enough cranberry to give it a pink hue.

However, another bartender, Toby Cecchini, also claims to have created the Cosmopolitan in 1988 at The Odeon in Manhattan, New York. He reportedly modified a poorly received drink called the Cosmopolitan by using Absolut Citron, fresh lime juice, Cointreau, and cranberry juice.

Regardless of its origin, Cosmopolitan gained widespread popularity in the 1990s, largely due to its frequent appearances on the television show “Sex and the City,” where it became associated with its main character, Carrie Bradshaw. This association catapulted the Cosmopolitan to iconic status, making it a symbol of cosmopolitan and fashionable lifestyles.

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FAQ

How many calories are in a Cosmopolitan?
A standard Cosmopolitan has approximately 200 calories.
How strong is a Cosmopolitan?
A Cosmopolitan typically has an ABV (Alcohol By Volume) of around 20-25%, making it 40-50 proof, depending on the specific proportions and the alcohol content of the vodka used.
What alcohol is used in a Cosmopolitan?
Vodka is the primary alcohol used in Cosmopolitan.
In which type of glass is a Cosmopolitan served?
A Cosmopolitan is usually served in a chilled martini glass.
What does a Cosmopolitan taste like?
A Cosmopolitan tastes sweet and tart, with a citrusy flavor profile, thanks to the cranberry juice and lime juice.
What is the ratio of ingredients in a Cosmopolitan?
The typical ratio for a Cosmopolitan is 1 1/2 oz vodka, 1 oz cranberry juice, 1/2 oz triple sec, and 1/2 oz fresh lime juice.
How is a Cosmopolitan served regarding ice?
A Cosmopolitan is served up, meaning it's shaken with ice and then strained into a glass without ice.
Is a Cosmopolitan similar to a Margarita?
While both have citrus flavors, they are different; a Margarita uses tequila and has a salted rim, while a Cosmopolitan uses vodka and has no salt.
Can I use bottled lime juice in a Cosmopolitan?
Fresh lime juice is preferred for its fresh flavor, but bottled can be used if necessary.
Can I make a Cosmopolitan without a shaker?
While a shaker is recommended for best results, stir the ingredients with ice and then strain them if a shaker is unavailable.
Why is a Cosmopolitan pink?
The pink color of a Cosmopolitan comes from the cranberry juice used in the recipe.
Can I use lemon juice instead of lime juice in a Cosmopolitan?
Lemon juice can be used as a substitute but will alter the flavor, making it more sweet and less tart.
Is a Cosmopolitan expensive to make?
The cost depends on the brands of alcohol and other ingredients used, but it can be relatively economical to make.
How do I make a Cosmopolitan less sweet?
To make it less sweet, you can reduce the amount of triple sec or cranberry juice, or add more lime juice to balance the sweetness.

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