Cosmo – An All Time Favourite

Drank at every party or seen more often in the TV series “Sex and the City”, Cosmopolitan (or Cosmo) was very popular in mid-90′s, but it was more than just an party drink; it made a significant impact on how we approach drinking and cocktail culture in general.

Cosmopolitan′s roots go back for just a few decades. The story of the bitter-sweet cocktail dates back to the 30′s of the 19th century. Jared Brown & Anistatia Miller wrote about the discovery of the Cosmo recipe. This recipe comes from the book “Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars Gins” from 1933-1934 and at that time it was, however, really modest: mixed with gin and raspberries, instead of the usual today lemon vodka and cranberry juice.


Jigger of Gordon Gin
2 dashes Cointreau
Juice of one lemon
Teaspoon of raspberry syrup
Shake ingredients over ice and strain into a cocktail glass.


In 1968, Ocean Spray were looking for a way to bring their cranberry juice to the  market, so on every carton they printed a recipe for a new cocktail called the Harpoon. This consisted of vodka, cranberry juice, and lime. Variations of the Cosmopolitan were then created in the 1970′s, in Provincetown (one of the main cranberry-producing areas in America), and San Francisco. However, according to some sources, Cheryl  Cook  invented the Cosmopolitan between 1985 and 1986, while working at a bar called The Strand , in South Beach, Florida. Her recipe contained Absolut Citron vodka, a splash of Triple Sec, a few drops of Lima Rose, a splash of cranberry juice and finished with a touch of lemon rind spiral.

In 1987, John Caine, owner of several bars in San Francisco, moved from Cincinnati to San Francisco bringing the Cosmopolitan recipe with him, thus contributing to the expansion of the cocktail, which in that time was served with great success in Cleveland, in New York and of course in Cincinnati, the homewtown of the famous bartender. 

Between 1987 and 1988 Toby Cecchini, another famous bartender from New York, participated and helped to spread the reputation of the Cosmopolitan, while working at the restaurant Odeon, in Manhattan. He created a new, slightly different version from the original recipe created by Cook.  Cecchini  changed the Triple Sec with Cointreau and Lime Rose with freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Dale DeGroff, aka “King Cocktail”, also contributed to the success of the Cosmopolitan. DeGroff includes Cosmopolitan cocktail in the Rainbow Room (New York) menu, in 1996. Soon after, the singer Madonna was spotted while drinking this cocktail in the Rainbow Room bar after the Grammys. From that moment  DeGroff decided to add a touch of Cointreau and flamed orange peel to the existing recipe.

Often described as an ”woman′s drink”, its alcohol content shouldn′t be underestimated, even if the pink color makes it seem harmless.


One thought on “Cosmo – An All Time Favourite


    Great site! And since I’m transitioning jobs at the moment, I’m thrilled to have the proper ingredients for these drinks. My last bar was lacking in so many necessary liqueurs. Finally…a proper Cosmo!

    Liked by 1 person

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